Thomas Frank backs Ivan Toney to make England push as Gareth Southgate searches for Harry Kane deputy

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Thomas Frank has backed Ivan Toney to force his way into the England squad after his superb start to life in the Premier League, as Gareth Southgate confirmed he is considering the Brentford striker for a call-up.

Toney, who still has the option of representing Jamaica, has two goals and two assists in the Bees’ first six games in the top flight, and last weekend went toe-to-toe with Virgil van Dijk in the thrilling 3-3 draw against Liverpool.

The 25-year-old was not named in Gareth Southgate’s latest squad, announced on Thursday, with former Brentford man Ollie Watkins recalled as back-up to Harry Kane.

That role was fulfilled by Dominic Calvert-Lewin during Euro 2020, while Patrick Bamford, Tammy Abraham and Danny Ings have also been in recent squads but none have yet managed to make the spot their own.

Speaking after naming his squad, Southgate confirmed Toney was “definitely a player we are monitoring closely” and suggested the battle to be Kane’s deputy would come down to goalscoring.

“If Ivan continues to perform as he’s done so far I think he definitely will be,” Frank said when asked if he believed last year’s Championship top scorer could be capped by the end of the season.

“I think he is already looking at him, Gareth, and I would expect that. Gareth has done a fantastic job as the England manager and he’s a very detailed man so I’m convinced that he’s looking at Ivan.

“Then it’s a balance between who’s already in the squad, different types and all that. But Ivan’s performances, if he continues like this, will be in the run for that position in the squad.”

Brentford travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham on Sunday, where they will come up against another former Frank prodigy in Said Benrahma.

The Algerian joined the Hammers from Brentford at the end of 2020 summer transfer window and after an inconsistent first season has been in terrific form of late, his goal in last night’s Europe League win over Rapid Vienna taking his tally for the new campaign to four.

“I always thought his abilities on the ball were Premier League class and he’s shown that with his one-vs-ones, his assists and his goals at a very high level,” Frank said.

“I’m so pleased he’s doing well, I text him once in a while and we’re in contact with each other. I hope he does very well, except on Sunday, of course.

“Every time he’s on the ball in the final third we need to double up on him. Not just because his one-vs-one skills are so good and he’ll go past you every time but he’ll also always be able to release a cross that can be really dangerous.”

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