Thomas Frank has revealed, against all odds, that Ivan Toney is in fact fallible from the penalty spot.
Toney, 26, scored his seventh and eighth goal of the season as Brentford beat Brighton 2-0 to climb to eighth in the Premier League amid a strong start from Frank’s side.
The attacker, who was part of Gareth Southgate’s 28-man squad for the most recent caps against Italy and Germany, scored his 20th of 20 penalties in a Brentford shirt to secure the result midway through the second half.
Ivan Toney scored his 20th penalty for Brentford with a typically cool try against Brighton
While goalkeepers are seemingly struggling to find a way to stop Toney from 12 yards, there may have been a carrot dangled from the attacker’s own manager, Frank, who revealed to Sky Sports after the game that he didn’t have one last season. penalty from the Englishman, but five.
When asked by Jamie Carragher if Toney really could spare, Frank replied, “Yeah, sometimes. Last year against our second goalkeeper, he missed the first, all the guys went crazy.
‘Second another, third, fourth, then he started to change his shoes, ‘no it’s not right’, new penalty area ready, missed the fifth’, he said with a laugh.
It turns out Toney – who missed five in a row in training – can miss from the penalty spot
Toney added his England credentials with a brace against Brighton on Friday night
Despite joking with the experts at Sky Sports, Frank said he believed his player was the best in the world from 12 yards.
“If you practice, you get better. I think he is the best penalty taker in the world. It’s not just because of his coolness. [It’s also} his technique, his strategy and he practises.’
Meanwhile, Toney himself revealed that not much thought process goes into where he’s going to place the ball, preferring instead to relax before stepping up to the spot.
‘To be honest I don’t really know where I’m going so I just hit the ball,’ he said.
‘The keeper’s trying to give the talk and everybody’s trying to get in my head, but I just walk away, compose myself, think of different things, think of being on the beach with a cocktail and put it in the back of the goal.’
Thomas Frank said that Toney had missed in front of his very eyes but still backed him as the best penalty taker on the planet
‘You’ve got to walk up to it nice and composed and put it in the other side of the goal,’ he added.
Toney’s prowess from the spot also reopened the debate about whether or not Southgate would take Toney to the World Cup.
Neville, before and after the game, seemed insistent Toney should be part of Southgate’s final 26-man squad.
‘I went to eight tournaments, five of those got knocked out on penalties. The fact is it’s about having confident players who do it regularly – and England have got a lot of those in the squad,’ he said.
Gary Neville believes that Ivan Toney has a ‘massive chance’ of being in the World Cup squad
‘Those big moments will be determined by penalties and free-kicks, to not have him there would be a big risk.’
Toney, despite not playing a minute on his first call up to the senior England squad, said he still believes in himself and thinks he is more than capable of playing at the level required for the national side.
‘I didn’t feel out of place. I felt like I was ready for that step,’ he said. ‘I’m ready to take my opportunity. I always see myself as the best player on the pitch and you’ve always got to have that mentality, no matter who you come up against.’
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