Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

    Ivan Toney backed Eric Cantona’s return from an eight-month suspension to improve… as Brentford boss Thomas Frank claims the star will “hit the ground running” to help the Bees.

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    Eric Cantona, Christian Eriksen and David Beckham were some of the names that came to mind as Thomas Frank looked ahead to Ivan Toney’s long-awaited return to Brentford.

    Following his eight-month suspension for breaching FA betting rules, Toney will finally return today against Nottingham Forest.

    He will be welcomed as a hero and treated as such also with the honor of leading Brentford as captain in Christian Norgaard’s absence, with a feeling of injustice fueling him, an acceptance that things could have been different but an apology?

    “I think sorry is a very important word,” Thomas Frank said at a news conference dominated by Toney in which he was asked 31 questions about his talisman.

    Toney’s enforced absence for reasons unrelated to injury had echoes of Cantona’s during the same period in 1995 for kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace fan.

    Ivan Toney is free to return to action for Brentford following an eight-month betting ban.

    Brentford boss Thomas Frank has backed Toney to start working on his return.

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    Frank hopes Toney can surpass Cantona, scorer of United’s equalizing penalty in their comeback against Liverpool, marking his return with a win and a goal, but sees similarities in their confidence levels.

    “Yeah, I’d say so,” Frank agreed when that suggestion was made.

    ‘There are slightly different types of players, but Ivan’s confidence is amazing. I think there is a good story. It’s no secret that [Brentford defender] Charlie Goode and Ivan are good friends.

    “I had a good conversation with Charlie about a year ago, we were talking about Ivan and other things, he came to the club and I think in the first three games he didn’t score and Charlie said: ‘Are you okay?’ and Iván said ‘yes, I will break the championship’s scoring record, I will score more than 30 goals.’

    ‘Charlie just looked at him (surprised) and broke the record. He has that confidence. He believes he can score in every action. And that is a great quality.”

    With six league defeats in seven and just a three-point margin towards the relegation zone, Brentford need Toney to find form instantly.

    Frank said: “He’s a player who will hit the ground running.” I compare him a little, he is different, but a little to Christian Eriksen. Also that [his time out following a cardiac arrest] he wasn’t “hurt” if that makes sense.

    “Of course it was crazy what happened to him, but he got to work [when he came back to football at Brentford] And I expect the same from Ivan.

    Frank claims Toney can have a similar impact to Eric Cantona at Man United after the Frenchman scored against Liverpool on his return from a nine-month ban in 1995.

    The Brentford manager highlighted the return of Christian Eriksen with the Bees after his cardiac arrest


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    Frank joked that it was typical for Toney to return when he was desperately needed and for a home TV game under the lights. The stage is set.

    Toney is the type of confident personality who will thrive amid the added scrutiny and even inevitable attacks from rival fans.

    Frank said, “I think he’ll handle it just fine.” The Netflix series about Beckham, I clearly remember the game in 1998 [when he got sent off at the World Cup against Argentina] but when you see it again I think ‘what is happening? That’s horrible.’

    ‘I don’t expect [level of abuse] It will happen, but I know how it will be. There will be some jokes and some probably more than jokes and sticks. “He has a very good mentality or ability to focus on the right thing, so he will park it, not focus on it, move forward and just be in the zone.”


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