Brentford head coach Thomas Frank has backed star striker Ivan Toney to be part of England’s World Cup squad this winter, noting that simply his penalty-taking record is too hard to ignore.
Toney scored his second Premier League hat-trick in the Bees’ 5-2 win over Leeds United on Saturday. The 26-year-old opened the scoring from the spot before finding the top corner with an outrageous free-kick, and later secured his treble after rounding Illan Meslier and chipping over several retreating defenders.
Brentford’s number 17 has now scored all 18 of his penalties for the Bees, and Frank – who is usually supportive of his players but insistent on not picking Gareth Southgate’s squad for him – has now publicly asserted that Toney should get a Three Lions call-up.
“I have said many times he is the best penalty taker in the world and hopefully I won’t get bored [of] saying it,” Frank said.
“England have been in a few penalty shootouts and if they want to win one, they need to pick Ivan.”
In addition to his penalty-taking, Toney has gained a reputation as one of the Premier League’s toughest strikers to play against.
During Brentford’s first month back in the top flight last season, he made life incredibly tough for Ben White and Virgil van Dijk, and he’s continued to prove a nuisance to opposition backlines.
“It’s a nightmare to play against him,” Frank replied when asked to recall the process of signing Toney from Peterborough in 2020.
“I said, ‘Ivan, what are you in doubt of? With your quality and the way we play, and you will score a minimum 25 goals so either we go up and everyone is happy, or we will sell you’. Finally he found that was the best solution and it’s since been a very, very happy marriage.”