Thomas Frank believes Brentford forward Ivan Toney has done enough to warrant a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Toney’s tally of eight Premier League goals this season is only bettered by three players, and speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Nottingham Forest, Frank said he would include the striker if he was in charge.
Asked whether Toney should make the Three Lions’ squad, Frank said: “For me, yes! I think you need a (penalty) specialist in a squad with 26 players.
“I think he’s a specialist, not only in penalties, I think that’s an extra plus, of course, we’ve joked a bit about that, but also his ability to score goals.
“I can only speak for myself but, if I was a national team manager, I would have my team and squad ready. The only difference would be players with injuries or whatever.
“The last-minute performances… I don’t really think it matters, to be fair.
“Never say never – if you score four goals in the next two games as a striker, that’s probably a good thing if you’re on the borderline.”
Forest boss Steve Cooper, meanwhile, oversaw a dramatic overhaul of his squad in the recent transfer window, and has hailed the continuity on display at Brentford.
“They are a team that’s been together for a while and seem really strategic in how they add players,” he said.
“They’re very together and Thomas has been there a while too with his coaching staff. It’s led to a lot of continuity and consistency, and that stands for a lot.
“They can play a number of formations and have obviously got a lot of really good players who can make a difference.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nottingham Forest – Taiwo Awoniyi
While no side has had fewer shots on target than Nottingham Forest in the Premier League this season (36), Awoniyi has been responsible for six of them. Between them, he and fellow attacker Brennan Johnson have scored 63 per cent of the team’s eight league goals this campaign (Awoniyi three, Johnson two).
Brentford – Ivan Toney
Toney has scored four goals in his last four Premier League games against newly promoted sides, with all of these coming away from home. He’s also scored in both of his league appearances against Nottingham Forest, both of which came in the 2020-21 Championship campaign.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This is the first ever top-flight meeting between Nottingham Forest and Brentford. Forest have won three of their last five games against them, though they were winless in both matches the last time the sides met, in the 2020-21 Championship campaign (D1 L1).
– Nottingham Forest have conceded 28 goals in their opening 13 Premier League matches this season, their most at this stage of a league season since the 1960-61 campaign, when they shipped 31.
– Brentford kept a clean sheet in two of their first three away Premier League games, but have since kept just one in their last 22 on the road, shipping 49 goals. The Bees have conceded at least four times in their last two away games; they have never conceded four or more goals in three consecutive away league games.
– Only Wolves (six) have scored fewer Premier League goals than Nottingham Forest this season (eight), though 87.5 per cent of Forest’s goals so far have come at the City Ground (seven of eight).
– No side have scored more Premier League goals following high turnovers this season than Brentford (four), while Nottingham Forest have conceded more such goals than any other side so far (six).