Ivan Toney admits he has “unfinished business” to attend to as his football ban nears its end. The Brentford hotshot, who has missed the first half of the season, says he “punished himself” during his time away from the sport and “fell out of love” with football altogether.
But as of January 16, he will be able to take to the pitch once again when his eight-month ban for 232 breaches of the Football Association’s betting rules is over.
Speaking to the Mirror ahead of his comeback, Toney said: “Always unfinished business when you haven’t been playing for a while. I know there’s a lot of people thinking ‘can he do this, can he do that? How will he be when he gets back?”
The 27-year-old also admitted that he was left questioning his love for the game after his time out on the sidelines. He added: “I didn’t watch football. I didn’t watch football for a while. In a way I punished myself. There was a stage when I probably did fall out of love with football. It is what it is, the situation is done.”
Toney has been subject to interest from multiple Premier League sides in the January transfer window including Arsenal and Chelsea but the expectation is that the 27-year-old will remain at the Gtech Community Stadium until the summer.
Brentford have set a £100million asking price for their star striker, which will be difficult for teams to stomach at the halfway point of the season. There have also been multiple reports suggesting that Toney feels indebted to his club after they stuck by him during his FA ban.
Toney was in fine form on Saturday, scoring a hat-trick for Brentford B in a 5-1 friendly win over Southampton Under-23s as he continues preparations for his Premier League return.
The first game he will be available for with the senior side is a top-flight clash against Nottingham Forest on January 20 – a match that could hold massive implications with both sides currently hovering above the relegation zone.