Ivan Toney

Eddie Howe believes Newcastle now have the structures in place that will prevent the failure to recognise and develop the talent of a player like Ivan Toney.

The Brentford striker, 26, is celebrating his maiden England call-up this week, four years after being sold by Newcastle to Peterborough for just £300,000.

Rafa Benitez was manager at the time but he has always maintained club staff did not inform him of Toney’s potential and that he never spent one day training with his senior squad.

The handling of Toney – he was sent on loan six times – was symptomatic of a club lacking a sporting director and a connection between academy and first team.

Newcastle’s new owners have since appointed Dan Ashworth to oversee such pathways, and Howe said: ‘I’d love to think that (Toney situation) would not happen now. That’s not a criticism of anyone at that time and why Ivan left, I don’t know.

‘When you watch him play now and see his attributes and what he can bring to his team, he’s an outstanding player. The call-up is a great thing for players who go to the lower leagues and gives them hope it’s not the end of their dreams. He’s had to work his way back up and he’s done incredibly well.’

Newcastle enquired about the availability of Toney in the summer but were put off by an asking price of at least £40million, although that looks cheap on the evidence of his form this season.

The Magpies eventually signed Sweden striker Alexander Isak for a club-record £60million, but only after Callum Wilson picked up a hamstring injury in August.

Wilson is likely to miss Saturday’s visit of his former club Bournemouth and, having previously stated his ambition to win a place in England’s World Cup squad, those hopes would appear remote given his injury and the emergence of Toney. Howe disagrees.

‘Never write off Callum Wilson, his mindset is incredible,’ said Howe, who is set to be without hamstring-victim Allan Saint-Maximin this weekend but will welcome back Bruno Guimaraes.

‘I don’t think Callum’s World Cup chance is gone, and I don’t think he believes so either. For Callum, you can’t sit there and dwell and go, “Poor me”.

‘He’s had an unbelievable rise himself from non-league to the position that he’s in. He savours every moment rather than look at negative situations. It will just fuel his motivation, it will fire him even more so when he returns to show how good he is.

‘I’m a firm believer in him and his abilities, and I know Gareth (Southgate) is the same. He has to return and score and he has to be consistent in his availability. Maybe he also has to have a bit of luck somewhere else to make that plane.’

Meanwhile, Howe has confirmed that Newcastle have held several discussions with the PGMOL in light of their admission that they were wrong to disallow his team’s goal during the goalless draw with Crystal Palace a fortnight ago. Joe Willock was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper despite being pushed into him by a Palace defender.

Howe said: ‘It was good that they came out and admitted it was a clear error. It was an incredible decision in a negative way for us.

‘They have to give referees all the views they have, especially on such a big call. I don’t think the referee saw the view where there was a clear push, which obviously affects the decision-making process.

‘But not only that, the referee, when they go to the monitor, has to go with an open mind. He made a decision at that moment (to give the goal), so they have a gut feeling. He should have recognised that gut feeling and not listened to Lee Mason and the guys in the VAR studio – that’s changed his decision to a negative effect.’


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