Brentford manager Thomas Frank has praised the way striker Ivan Toney has responded to difficulties in his career to become a ‘top’ Premier League player.
Toney, 25, is in his second season with the Bees after moving to west London from Peterborough in the summer of 2020. Having scored 49 goals in all competitions for the League One side, he made a seamless transition to the Championship outfit. And, with 31 league goals last term, the Northampton-born hitman helped Brentford finish third in the second tier.
He scored the opening goal in the 2-0 play-off final victory over Swansea City. The capital outfit were tipped for relegation before a ball had been kicked in 2021-2022.
However they have begun life well in the top flight, with eight points from five games played. Toney has played every minute of their league campaign to date, netting twice.
He will again lead the line when Jurgen Klopp’s Reds visit the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday evening. After beginning his career with Northampton Town, Toney joined Newcastle United in August 2015.
But, unable to nail down place in the side, he was sent out on loan to many clubs. The talented forward spent temporary stints with Barnsley, Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe (twice) and Wigan Athletic.
It was not an easy period for the player and Frank believes it has made him the man he is.
“He’s faced a lot of setbacks in his career and that’s where you get tested on your resilience. And he’s shown himself to be very resilient, and he’s got that tough mentality and belief,” he said, per The Evening Standard.
“Ivan is very intelligent, because he’s reflecting, and he deserves a lot of praise himself for also coming into a well-run club and listening to all the small bits and adding extra layers to his development and performance.
Frank hails ‘fantastic’ Toney
Toney had already caught the eye of a few top clubs before the start of this season. Leeds United, West Ham United and Tottenham have all been mentioned in connection with the striker.
But he remained with Brentford and has risen to the challenge of moving up a division. Frank feels it is no coincidence that he is at home in the Premier League.
And the Dane made it clear that beneath his calm demeanour beats the heart of an animal.
“If you want to be a top player you need to work hard, constantly reflect and want to learn and then of course you need to have that confidence that he’s got so naturally,” he added.
“He’s coming across so fantastically: he’s humble, calm, but with a mindset of a lion.”