Ivan Toney sent a World Cup message to England boss Gareth Southgate by firing Brentford to a 2-0 win over Brighton.
Bees forward Toney made his first call-up to the Three Lions squad last month but was unable to make the pitch for the games against Italy and Germany.
But the 26-year-old seems determined to reserve a seat on the plane to Qatar and is hard to ignore after bolstering his case with two goals, a cute chop followed by another penalty.
Toney now has eight Premier League goals this season, level with Harry Kane, with only Erling Haaland scoring more.
Brentford failed to score in two defeats by Brighton last season and Toney tried to rectify that error from the start.
Frank Onyeka headed his dangerous cross wide of the head before Yoane Wissa sent a flick just wide of the far post.
But Brighton, who have been warming up in shirts bearing the name of midfielder Enock Mwepu ahead of their first game since the 24-year-old was forced to retire with a hereditary heart condition, began to assert control.
Danny Welbeck had blocked an Ethan Pinnock shot on goal and saved a David Raya header.
Bees goaltender Raya did extremely well, hitting Moises Caicedo with a vicious, evasive 25-yard drive and knocking him over the bar.
Then the Spaniard had to parry a shot from Joel Veltman from close range with his paw from the corner.
Brighton appeared to be dominating the game but shortly afterwards Bryan Mbeumo was unlucky at the other end when he landed a stunning volley off the crossbar for the first time.
But Mbeumo played a key role in Brentford’s 27th-minute opener as he regained the ball before playing into Onyeka down the right.
Onyeka’s low cross was answered by Toney with an instinctive backheel flip, the ball slipping through the legs of Seagulls defenseman Adam Webster as it rolled in.
There was an unseemly and entirely unnecessary skirmish on the touchline before half-time as Bees boss Thomas Frank tried to stop Veltman from collecting the ball for a quick throw-in.
Staff from both sides got involved in the pushing and posing before referee Michael Salisbury finally restored some order and sent off both Frank and his opponent Roberto De Zerbi.
Veltman was the bad guy after the break when his clumsy foul on Toney gave what Frank described as “the best penalty taker in the world” a chance to take his score to 20/20 for Brentford.
He did just that, sending Seagulls keeper Robert Sanchez the wrong way and giving Southgate another shove in the process.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/brentford-ivan-toney-england-gareth-southgate-brighton-b2203232.html Ivan Toney underlines England’s credentials with brace as Brentford beat Brighton