Thomas Frank has praised Gareth Southgate for allowing him to break the news to Ivan Toney about his England call-up.
The striker has earned a place in Southgate’s Three Lions squad for upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Italy and Germany.
The 26-year-old becomes Brentford’s first England pick in 83 years, and is now eyeing a chance to prove his worth with the World Cup in Qatar two months away.
Brentford face Arsenal on Sunday in the Premier League, and the news has left the Bees in a buoyant mood, with Toney no doubt keen to add to his tally.
And Frank was delighted he was able to play a role in the occasion.
“I’m very, very pleased, but I don’t think I can beat the happiness of Ivan,” he said.
“But there’s a nice little touch to the story, I would say, and that’s that Gareth Southgate just showed how great a man he is.
“He texted me earlier in the morning and said ‘Thomas, you can deliver the news to Ivan’. It’s not often that we as head coaches or managers can bring the good news.
“It’s a lot of time that we’re having to be hard on them, that maybe they are not playing. It’s so rare to be able to be completely positive.
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“I’ve said many times it’s 90 per cent suffering and 10 per cent joy. And that was definitely a very joyful moment to be able to call him and give him the good message.
“It’s not often Ivan is speechless, but he was laughing and just very happy. And I think that’s a wonderful story.
“He’s a very confident guy and the journey has definitely not been straightforward for him. I know he dreamt about being an England international since he was a kid.
“Of course the path to the first call-up took a few detours, so that’s incredible.”
Toney has five goals so far in the Premier League, and has been backed by Frank to make Southgate’s World Cup squad.
“It’s up to Gareth Southgate of course, but if I were putting together a squad I would pick him,” said Frank.
“I haven’t followed Tammy Abraham closely enough in Roma, but I know definitely that Ivan has a lot to offer. His ability in the box and his link-up play is at a very, very high international level.
“And I definitely think Ivan’s potential is very much not at its top yet. The sky’s the limit, I would say.
“I think this is also a much bigger moment for Brentford than people understand, especially if you’ve been here for a long time.
“Just 15 years ago, we were bottom of League Two, we played MK Dons at home and lost 3-0 in front of 4,000 fans.
“Now, 15 years later, we get our first England international in 83 years, and we are playing our second season in the Premier League.
“So it’s a remarkable story, and you can see the joy, and the proud eyes when I speak to people in the club and around fans. It’s very big.”
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