Thomas Frank knows how important Ivan Toney is for Brentford

Thomas Frank admits Ivan Toney is crucial to his Brentford game plan and the striker is likely to start at Brighton on Boxing Day.

The 25-year-old returned to action as a second-half substitute in the midweek Carabao Cup loss to Chelsea after a spell out with coronavirus.

Bees manager Frank has not confirmed Toney, who has scored five goals this term, will definitely start at the Amex Stadium but he is certainly keen to get him back in action as quickly as possible.

“He is fine,” Frank said. “He should be in a better place for Boxing Day. I will not name the team before Boxing Day but we will see.

“There is a good chance he will start and it is no secret that I would prefer to start him if he is fit and ready, and also to play him as many minutes as possible, so I can go with the right intensity that I want. I hope that will be the plan.”

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Meanwhile, Frank has continued to trumpet the England prospects of left-back Rico Henry.

The Dane has tipped the 24-year-old former Walsall defender, who was named in the PFA Championship team of the year last season, as a future international and feels he is constantly improving.

Frank said: “I think Rico is a very interesting left-back and for England I would understand if they look at him and were very aware of him.

“He needs to keep the consistency of those (good) performances. If he does that then I think at one stage he will get his England chance because, with left-backs, it is difficult to get top ones in that position.

“He needs to develop but he is lightning quick, his one-on-one defensive side of the game is crazily good and he has added goals to his CV as well. He is a very interesting prospect.”

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