Rhys James refuses to ‘talk’ after Ivan Toney goals embarrass Gareth Southgate after missing World Cup

Rhys James is clearly not happy with Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad, leaving a message on Ivan Toney’s social media.

On Thursday, Southgate named his 26 men to travel to Qatar early next week, with their opening game against Iran now just nine days away.

As with any team for a major tournament, there was always going to be some controversy, although the Three Lions boss avoided the biggest headlines, including James Maddison.

The manager decided Chelsea full-back James’ current injury, which will keep him out for at least the first two group games, was not worth the risk and did not select him.

While the injury meant the selection wasn’t too controversial in theory, the decision not to include Brentford striker Toney was, with Newcastle’s Callum Wilson and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.

On Saturday afternoon, Toney made a bit of a mockery of that decision, scoring twice as Thomas Frank’s side shocked Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Newcastle striker celebrated the injury-time winner by putting his fingers to his ears in what looked a lot like a message to the national team boss.

James clearly felt this, responding to a photo on social media, quoting Jose Mourinho saying: “If I talk, I’m in trouble.”

With Toney no doubt unhappy with the team’s selection, it’s hard to say whether James agrees with the general displeasure or agrees that Toney shouldn’t have been left out.

Speaking to BT Sport at Full Time, the striker said: “Listen, the only thing is to keep going well, keep doing my best. Obviously there’s disappointment but I know what I can do. I’m not going to let it get me down .

“The motivation is the boys in the dressing room and the fans. When we work hard, that’s what we can do. We know what we’re capable of, that’s what we do every week in training.

“It might be Manchester City but they’re human. I think we deserved the tree points.”

Toney celebrates his second goal against City.  Image: Alamy
Toney celebrates his second goal against City. Image: Alamy

“Tammy’s had a bad run of form to score at the wrong time really,” claimed the former Middlesbrough manager, although the same could not be said for the Brentford striker.

It would be a huge blow if he didn’t make it to Qatar, thankfully, after the match, Brendan Rodgers suggested the change was merely precautionary.

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