Thomas Frank has backed Ivan Toney after leaked speculation over the Football Association’s (FA) intended ban for his alleged breaches of betting rules, as well as suggestions he had trained badly while on England duty.
The Brentford striker has been charged with 262 alleged violations by English football’s governing body, which took place over a four-year period.
There has been no official FA update on the matter but reports, initially by The Daily Mail on Tuesday, claimed Toney had pleaded guilty to the majority of charges and could face a six-month ban.
Those reports suggested the 26-year-old also denied some of the violations, though Toney was left bewildered by reported leaks within the FA, posting on Instagram that he was “shocked and disappointed” by them.
Toney earned a first England call-up in September but was left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Bees head coach Frank said: “The most important [thing] is Ivan. He is amazing in many aspects, the way he copes with pressure, or distraction, and this is of course a bigger one.
“This has been ongoing since November, and yet he just carried on scoring goals, performing for the team, driving the team. It is so remarkable.
“We are 11 games unbeaten [in the Premier League], so I guess that is a decent response.”
Only Erling Haaland (27) and Harry Kane (18) have scored more than Toney’s 14 goals in 21 Premier League appearances this season, and Frank praised his forward’s ability to maintain his form despite the outside noise.
“It is like life, sometimes things get thrown at you and you need to deal with it,” he said.
“I would say that we share the disappointment of Ivan in terms of the leaks, that is for a confidential case. It surprised us massively.
“The timing of the leaks, just before the World Cup and the March international [England] team [announcement].
“The talk about that there is a potential ban as long as up to six months, that disappoints us.
“Then we share the disappointment that the talk about Ivan trained badly with the England squad. What is that?
“It is his first time with the England squad and I never met a player who did not want to do everything they can out on the training pitch, that wants to do well to impress the gaffer.
“I can only talk about Ivan what I see out here [in training] and around the place, he is a fantastic person around the group.
“He has that unique emotional intelligence to be aware of the lowest player to the top players and staff members.
“He has trained well and to me he is clearly number two in England as a striker. He has proven that with the goals and the performances.”
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