In the days before Brentford drew 3-3 with Liverpool, Ivan Toney spoke at length to The i Newspaper. Daniel Storey, the paper's chief football writer, spent some time on a video call with Ivan last week. As well as the start of Brentford's 2021/22 Premier League season, they talked about Ivan's life growing up and how that shapes him now.
The piece outlines the sacrifices Ivan's family made in order for him to become a Premier League striker, including his Mum missing meals so she could get him to training. Ivan said he now appreciated the sacrifices that had been made. He also told the newspaper that playing at a higher level wouldn't change him.
“As children we’re naive,” said Ivan in the article. “We’re oblivious to certain situations. But when you grow up and become placed into those same scenarios, with children yourself, you start to realise what they had to do to survive. My parents never had what I have now when they were younger. In her head it wasn’t that big a deal, but looking back on it now it was vital to help me get where I am.
“Money hasn’t ever and will never change the kind of person I am. I could be on high wages or I could be on nothing; I’m still going to be the same person. I’ve been down in League Two, in a cold changing room on a freezing Tuesday night when the heaters don’t work and because you’re a young boy you don’t have a seat so you have to put on your clothes where the drinks are. That might have changed now, but in a way nothing has changed. I’m the same old Ivan Toney from Northampton.
“I’m a role model now, not just to supporters and to young children but to my own boy. I have to set an example. But so many of us do. You see so many footballers giving their time and money, and it’s important that they continue to do it. People accuse footballers of being certain things, but look deeper and you’ll see the reality. They should think twice before they judge us.”
Ivan goes in to more depth on his family life in the article. He also talks about what drives him. See the full piece here.