Brentford head coach Thomas Frank hopes Ivan Toney’s England debut will be just the start of more big moments for both the striker and the club.
Toney came off the bench to replace captain Harry Kane for the closing stages of the Euro 2024 qualification win over Ukraine at Wembley on Sunday night.
The centre-forward, who missed out on selection for the World Cup, has 16 Premier League goals so far this season and is only the third player to represent England while at Brentford, and the first since 1939.
Toney – who has been charged with 262 breaches of the Football Association’s gambling laws, some of which he has since accepted, and could be facing a ban – has his sights set firmly on becoming a regular in Gareth Southgate’s plans.
Frank feels the recognition of Toney and several other members of his squad over the international break shows just how far the west London club have come as the Bees look to maintain their top-flight status.
“This is a very proud moment in our history to have 13 or 14 players away at senior level, that is quite impressive for a club of our size,” the Danish coach said.
“It is a big credit to our recruitment department and to the players, some of them were internationals when they came, while some have got their debut since they arrived here, so it is a good combination of a lot of good people’s good work.”
Frank told a press conference: “I was on the way back from Spain (on Sunday night), so we were checking the (phone) app to see whether he (Toney) will come on.
“Then in the taxi, I needed to get the phone up, but was struggling to get on (connected) and was speaking to my son to say, ‘help, so I can watch it’.
“It was a big and a proud moment for Ivan and his family, I am so pleased for him, for them and for us as a club.
“Every player that plays for the national team is a big thing. Of course, (with) England, it is (here) in England.
“For the club, it is the first English national team since 1939, so that is a big moment for us of course.”
Brentford forward Kevin Schade made his senior debut for Germany in a friendly win over Peru and also featured off the bench in the 3-2 defeat by Belgium.
Frank feels there is also more to come from the 21-year-old, who was signed from Freiburg during January.
“Kevin had two very good appearances and had a great assist,” the Bees coach said.
“Hopefully we can make him even better. There is still a lot he needs to learn but the raw potential is there.”
Frank confirmed no fresh injury concerns following the international break as Brentford prepare for Saturday’s Premier League match at Brighton.
Midfielder Shandon Baptiste is suspended after he was sent off for two yellow cards late on in the draw against Leicester.
Right-back Mads Roerslev has recovered from a hamstring problem, but Norwegian defender Kristoffer Ajer remains out with a calf injury.