Eddie Howe reacts to costly Newcastle United decision made during Rafa Benitez's time as manager
Ivan Toney was another one that got away for Newcastle United.
The Brentford striker – who this week earned his first England call-up – was sold by the club to Peterborough United four years ago after a series of loan spells. Toney, 26, had been recruited from Northampton Town in 2015 by then-chief scout Graham Carr.
Toney later claimed that he hadn’t been given a “proper chance” by then-United manager Rafa Benitez.
“I didn’t feel like I was given a proper chance,” Toney told The Athletic. “I still don’t. I’m not sure the manager gave me a proper opportunity. That’s his choice – he brought in players he wanted to work with, rather than giving youth a chance.
“If you’re not valued somewhere, which I didn’t feel I was, then go somewhere you do feel valued. That’s what I did. Perhaps it happened for the best, because it means I’m here now, scoring goals again and picking up my career.”
Benitez – who left Newcastle in the summer of 2019 – claimed that he hadn’t been told that Toney was an “option” for him.
“I didn’t meet Ivan Toney at any time (at Newcastle),” said Benitez last year. “I didn’t coach him any day, so I didn’t talk with him when I was there, because he was on loan.
"All the reports that I had when I was asking for players for the first team, nobody was telling me that he was an option, and he was on loan – and they sold him.”
United, needing a striker, looked at Toney – who has scored five goals so far this season – this summer.
Asked about Toney’s departure from Newcastle, Howe said: "I'd love to think that wouldn’t happen now. That's not a criticism of anyone at that time, and why Ivan left. I don't know (why he left).
“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.”