Brentford striker Ivan Toney scored a hat-trick on Saturday in the Premier League, and could be celebrating today by playing his favourite sport away from football.
The forward’s brilliant trio of goals in the Bees’ 5-2 win over Leeds led to calls for him to be given an England debut. But if he’s not at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, then he could use the time to watch his favourite players at snooker tournaments.
Toney came to the Masters final at Alexandra Palace in 2020 when Stuart Bingham beat Ali Carter. “I loved going to the Masters, it was a great experience,” the 26-year-old told The Sportsman. “I’ll look to get back there in January. I haven’t been to the Crucible and the World Championship yet and I would love to go. My favourite player has to be Ronnie O’Sullivan. He is aggressive on every shot and wants to pot every ball – that’s what I like. He says what he wants, but he backs it up by winning. I’d love to see the documentary coming out about him, it could be massive.
“I have always liked and appreciated snooker from a young age. My dad used to play to a good level, and he played Jimmy White and Alex Higgins in club or exhibition matches. From what I understand he wasn’t a million miles off getting to pro level, but lost a few key matches and it went on the back burner.
“Snooker is very tough, with fine margins and no room for error. Northampton, where I grew up, has seen some very good players emerge from there, or base themselves there. I used to play at Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton, and I saw the likes of Rory McLeod, Peter Ebdon and Kyren Wilson.
“My highest break isn’t the best, I can get between 30 and 40. I can pot the balls but there comes a point where you have to be able to control the cue ball really well to get more. I do like individual sports, because you only have yourself to blame. There is an aspect of that I like, to take the responsibility and blame myself. Obviously in football that is not really the way, as part of a team. But as a striker or maybe a goalkeeper, there is that extra responsibility on you doing your job.
“I have tried to convert other Brentford lads to snooker – I play with Charlie Goode, but he’s not so good! Some of the overseas players play pool and think they are good but I am the pool king at the club. Kris Ajer reckons he can play and has said he will play me for as much money as I want. But that’s with neither of us having seen the other in action. I’ll back myself there, that can happen any time before he comes to his senses. I’ll send a driver to pick him up and bring him to my place!”