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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

All you need to know about the Irish teenager who's just made his full PL debut

The youngster started in Aston Villa’s game with Watford on Saturday.

Aston Villa's Kevin Toner (left) and Watford's Steven Berghuis compete for the ball.
Aston Villa's Kevin Toner (left) and Watford's Steven Berghuis compete for the ball.

NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD Aston Villa defender Kevin Toner made his full Premier League debut at the weekend.

The young defender completed 90 minutes of top-flight football for the first time, as Villa were beaten 3-2 by Watford.

Toner has been one of the beneficiaries from Villa’s recent relegation, with the club willing to experiment and trust in youth to a degree now that their remaining fixtures this season are effectively meaningless.

Not too much is known about the young Irish player, but here are a few interesting facts about him…

  • Born on July 18, 1996, Toner joined the Aston Villa academy from renowned Dublin schoolboy club Home Farm in 2012.
  • Toner has represented Ireland at U15, U16, U17 and U19 level.
  • According to the official FAI website, he is a native of Ashbourne, County Meath.
  • Toner can play at both centre-back and full-back, and has captained Villa’s U21 team in recent times.
  • The teenager made six appearances during a one-month loan spell at National League side Kidderminster Harriers in 2015.
  • In addition to his full debut at the weekend, he also came on for Villa as a half-time substitute in their recent 4-2 defeat by Southampton.
  • According to, Toner made five tackles, five clearances, two interceptions and three ball recoveries against Watford, in addition to winning seven out of 10 duels.
  • Speaking following his Premier League debut against the Saints, Toner said: “You work all your life for that kind of moment. To do it at a young age feels like an achievement for me… I was just so delighted. It was a crazy feeing — my heart was really pumping when I came on. There were comments coming through from loads of people, even lads I played with when I was much younger, which was really nice.”
  • Catertaker Villa boss Eric Black has expressed admiration for the youngster and tipped him for a big future in the game, telling reporters: “He deserves enormous credit. I’ve been really refreshed by his mentality and the desire to be a football player. It’s something that’s sadly missing at times now. So to see a young man who’s so passionate about being a football player and will do anything to be a football player is wonderful.”
  • Toner can be found on Twitter — @kevintoner60 — as well as Instagram: kevintoner.

  • Fellow promising youngster Jack Grealish was impressed by Toner’s performance at the weekend, tweeting: “Very harsh result today, thought we deserved more. @kevintoner60 was brilliant on his first premier league start. Well done bro!”
  • Toner is an admirer of Southampton and Ireland star Shane Long, who he marked on his Villa debut: “It’s a dream. He’s one of our best strikers and going to the Euros,” he told AVTV. “At home, he’s like a hero, so to come on and mark someone like that is different ball game altogether.”
  • Toner was involved in a mass brawl during a recent U21 match between Aston Villa and West Ham, receiving a red card as a result.

Source: Eren Boran ve Paylaşımları/YouTube

  • Toner attracted interest from a number of sides last year with his Villa contract running down – Leicester, Newcastle and Stoke were some of the clubs linked with the player. Moreover, as recently as last month, the Irish Sun reported that both Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers were interested in signing the player, with Remi Garde understood to have told Toner he could leave the club in the summer.
  • The youngster dreams of playing for Ireland in future. In a recent interview with AVTV, he described representing his country as “100% my long-term ambition” and added: “There’s a new campaign for them starting in September so hopefully I’ll be able to get a shout.”

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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