With 14 goals in 43 games during loan spells at Shrewsbury Town and Scunthorpe United in the season just gone, Ivan Toney has done his chances of an opportunity at Newcastle United no harm at all.
The lanky striker signed to great fanfare when arriving as a precocious teenager from Northampton Town two summers ago. However, it’s fair to say his career at St James’ Park is yet to truly take off.
Toney has only played four times for the Tyneside giants and, with manager Rafael Benitez seemingly unwilling to risk throwing the youngsters in at the deep end, you couldn’t help but wonder whether his future lies elsewhere.
That was until the 21-year-old boosted his goals tally, and his reputation, with a prolific end to the season at Scunthorpe. Netting six goals in his final eight games, Toney fired The Iron into the League One play-offs.
Tone it down
However, while his goal record has been rather impressive of late, another statistic displays the other side to Ivan Toney. While scoring 14 goals last season, he also picked up 16 cards including a red in Shrewsbury’s draw with AFC Wimbledon in September.
By December, he had been banned three times in 2016/17.
On average, Toney is booked every 2.6 games. Even firebrand Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was marginalised by Benitez due to a perceived lack of discipline, averages less.
“(Opposition players) see I get frustrated quite easily,” an 18-year-old Toney told the Northampton Chronicle in 2014. “I have to manage myself because I’m quite an angry person.”
However, it appears that bad habits aren’t easy to kick.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez
Benitez spoke late in the season of the need for discipline and the ability to keep cool heads under pressure, as reported by Sky Sports.
Therefore, he may be far from impressed by Toney’s card-collecting ways.