Brentford head coach Thomas Frank believes Ivan Toney wants to become a big presence in the England dressing room after receiving his first Three Lions call-up, but that the striker should focus on impressing Gareth Southgate on the pitch first.
Toney, who was not capped by England at youth level, was called into the senior squad for September’s Nations League fixtures against Germany and Italy.
A charismatic figure on and off the pitch, the 26-year-old is one of the most popular and vocal players at Brentford.
Frank reckons this is a character trait he will try and continue to display once he joins up with the England squad for the first time, but urged him to show his worth as a footballer first.
“I think he wants to [be a leader in the England dressing room], no doubt about that,” Frank said. “I think when you step into a new environment, it’s a little bit like the first day of school. So you need to step in there, of course show who you are.
“But first and foremost he has to go out there on the pitch and show that he’s a very good footballer.”
Toney is part of Frank’s leadership group alongside full internationals David Raya, Christian Norgaard and club captain Pontus Jansson.
He joined from Peterborough United in 2020, and while Frank admitted that Toney’s leadership qualities were not a huge part of the reason they signed him, it was an added bonus that didn’t come as too much of a shock.
“I don’t know if it was a surprise [that he was a leader], but that was not in the front of my mind when we signed him!” Frank added.
“I knew we would sign a very good striker with great abilities to score goals and I knew he would help us in that aspect. But when you then work with him and have been around him, he then showed his true character and leadership qualities.”
Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury
Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.
The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.
There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.
The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.
Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.
‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.
“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”
Erik ten Hag explains decision to substitute Jadon Sancho in Omonia victory
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confessed that he was unimpressed with the left side of his team in the first half of Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Omonia Nicosia, leading to him substituting both Jadon Sancho and Tyrell Malacia at half-time.
United were woeful in the first half and trailed at the break after Sancho and Malacia conspired to give away the ball for the cheapest of counter-attack goals, and both were hooked at the interval.
Sancho was replaced by Marcus Rashford, who went on to bag a goal and an assist, while fellow substitute Anthony Martial also scored just moments after being introduced on the hour mark.
Asked to explain his logic behind removing Sancho while his team were losing, Ten Hag said: “It [the goal] was not what I wasn’t happy with, it was the movement with our ball.
“The width on the left side, for me, was no good first-half – the movement from behind the defending line.
“So I hoped with Luke [Shaw] and Marcus we get more effect from that and so in my opinion that happens.”
Asked what he told Rashford and the rest of the team at the break to inspire a comeback, Ten Hag told BT Sport: “More runs, we are too static, we have to make the opposition move to get behind – that is why we made two subs.
“The subs really had an impact today.”
The boss added: “I would call it stay composed. It can always happen, football is a game of mistakes. I agree with you, first 30 or 35 minutes, we played quite well, the only thing we didn’t do was score a goal.
“When you score a goal you make your life easy, we didn’t. Then we concede a goal and it was the worst 10 minutes from the game from us. After half-time, we dealt well with the setback.”
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