LONDON (AP)Ivan Toney was called up by England for the first time on Thursday, giving the Brentford striker an unlikely shot at making Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup.

Toney, a tall center forward who links up play well and is a great penalty-taker, was playing for Peterborough in England’s third division two years ago. He moved to Brentford in August 2020, was the top scorer in the Championship as the team secured promotion, and has since impressed in the Premier League.

The 26-year-old Toney scored 12 goals last season and has five goals in six games so far this season.

In a 28-man squad selection for England’s upcoming Nations League qualifying games against Italy and Germany, Southgate recalled Tottenham defender Eric Dier while fellow center back Harry Maguire was retained despite losing his place in Manchester United’s team.

Man United forwards Marcus Rashford, who currently has a muscle injury, and Jadon Sancho missed out. With first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford injured, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson will fight for the jersey.

England plays Italy in Milan on Sept. 23 and Germany at Wembley Stadium three days later, having collected only two points from its first four games in a group also containing Hungary.

Southgate can only select 26 players for the World Cup in Qatar starting in November.

England squad:

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Nottingham Forest), Nick Pope (Newcastle), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Roma), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Ivan Toney (Brentford)

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