IVAN TONEY was trying to block out the noise as the Gills added to his week from hell.
The Brentford striker stuck his fingers in his ears and looked out to the stands with an ice-cool stare as he slotted home Brentford’s opener just three minutes in.
He also continued his record from the penalty spot after Mikael Mandron’s epic equaliser for Gillingham sent the tie to a shootout.
He has now hit 21 in 21 from the spot for the Bees — and his opener made it nine goals across all competitions to give Gareth Southgate food for thought before he reveals his World Cup squad tomorrow.
Mikkel Damsgaard’s miss in the shootout against the side who are 20th in League Two sent Neil Harris’ team into the last 16 of the Carabao Cup. Mandron sent the tie to penalties then stepped up first in the shootout and lashed home for Gillingham.
It was Toney’s turn next and he made no mistake in slotting his home.
Hakeeb Adelakun, Saman Ghoddos, Will Wright Josh Dasilva, Cheye Alexander, Bryan Mbeumo, Scott Kashket, Mathias Jensen and Alex MacDonald, were all on target before Damsgaard’s miss.
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Toney has handed his phone to FA investigators looking into match-betting claims.
All eyes were on him, even former Three Lions captain David Beckham who was sat in a box with technical director Lee Dykes and director of football Phil Giles.
Sources said Toney had become “incredibly worried” the investigation could cost him his place at the tournament.
And boss Thomas Frank confirmed in his post match press conference that the forward would start last night as he was “fighting” for his selection.
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But he was cool as a cucumber throughout, bossing it in front of goal and pulling the strings in midfield. It certainly will give England boss Gareth Southgate food for thought with him hitting nine goals across all competitions now.
He even looked unfazed when Neil Harris’ side netted an epic equaliser through substitute Mandron with 15 minutes to go.
Cheeky Gillingham fans had been chanting “In the squad? You’re having a laugh” to Toney during spells in the match.
There is no suggestion of any criminal activity by Toney or that he attempted to fix the outcome of any match.
No charges have been brought by FA chiefs against the player.
You could tell others were also hungry to impress ahead of the World Cup, with Mikel Damsgaard causing havoc for the visitors having recently been named in the Denmark squad.
But after Toney’s opener, Gills slowly grew into the game and Alexander MacDonald’s inch perfect cross found Mandron, whose header bundled into the right corner on 75 minutes.
But Damsgaard was the man who became the villain for Bees, missing the deciding penalty, and going out to a club 77 places below them.
Of the other Carabao Cup ties, the only all-Premier League affair saw Bournemouth thump Everton 4-1.
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Leicester, the only other top-flight side in action, beat Newport County 3-0.
There were also wins for Lincoln City, Burnley, MK Dons and Charlton with all of them progressing to the Last 16.
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