Former Newcastle United winger shocked at progress of England new boy

There could be a landmark appearance for one former Magpies striker.

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Andros Townsend has revealed his surprise at the rapid progress made by former Newcastle United striker Ivan Toney.

The duo were briefly together at St James Park following Townsend’s £14million move from Tottenham Hotspur in January 2016.

Toney spent time out on loan at Barnsley during the latter stages of that season as he tried to prove himself to then-United manager Rafa Benitez.

Townsend had departed for Crystal Palace in the aftermath of the Magpies relegation into the Championship and many had expected Toney to be handed a chance to impress among United’s senior men.

But he spent further loan spells away from Tyneside after joining Scunthorpe United, Shrewsbury Town and Wigan Athletic in temporary deals over the following seasons.

A permanent switch away from United was secured in August 2018 when Toney joined Peterborough United in a £350,000 deal.

His form at London Road led to a £5million switch to Premier League-bound Brentford and the Northampton-born frontman has taken well to life in the top tier, scoring 17 goals in 40 appearances.

The powerful striker has five goals to his name this season and his form was rewarded with a first call-up to the England squad for Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany.

He missed out on a place in the matchday squad for Friday night’s game against Italy - but will hope to be handed an international bow when the Three Lions face Germany at Wembley on Monday night.

His progress was something former Magpies star Townsend did not see coming but he believes Toney has ‘everything’ to make it at the top level.

He told talkSPORT: “I was briefly with him at Newcastle and he maybe went out on loan to Northampton or one of the teams in League One or League Two.

“I honestly didn’t see the progress that he has made. He’s a real handful. He’s an animal. He’s got technique. Penalties? Best penalty taker in the world. He scored a free-kick the other day.

“His hold-up play. He’s strong. He’s got character. He’s got everything. It’s going to be interesting to see him during these next few games and see how he gets on.”

Toney could feature alongside current Magpies stars Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier after they were also named in Gareth Southgate’s squad.