Brentford manager Thomas Frank hailed Ivan Toney’s ability to remain focused after he converted his 22nd penalty for the club in their 3-2 win over Fulham, while Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher says the 26-year-old is one of the best attackers in the Premier League.
Toney scored his 15th league goal of the season as in-form Brentford moved to within one point of seventh-placed neighbours Fulham in the race for a surprise European spot.
The Brentford striker, who is part of an ongoing FA betting case, put in a player-of-the-match display, with his penalty technique the talk of the MNF studio following the game after he scored a 10th Premier League penalty from 10 attempts.
Frank highlighted Toney’s “unique” ability to remain focused despite the case he is facing off the pitch.
When asked about Toney’s successful penalty technique, Frank joked to Sky Sports: “I take all the praise, it is solely me.”
He added: “No, it is Ivan, that is the technique he had when he arrived at Brentford. He is the best penalty taker in the world and I’m glad I started saying that pretty early. He is for a few reasons, his strategy, he practises it and he is very cool. He keeps doing it all the same.
“It is a unique skill with him, I think in general before this situation with the case going on before that unique ability to focus on games and training and he has kept doing that so that doesn’t surprise me. He doesn’t like the situation but he has top focus.
“He’s always aware of what’s happening around him. He’s never switching off. That’s linked with, if there’s something going on outside the pitch, you can see that focus both on and off the pitch.
“He is a special footballer, I think his character is unique in terms of leadership and driving his team. His link-up play and the way he sees his team-mates around in terms of combinations and then his ability to score goals. He is an all-round football player.”
‘I have a spot and it is in the back of the net’
Brentford striker Ivan Toney talks to Sky Sports about his penalty technique:
“The wait doesn’t matter, the longer the better really because I compose myself and just walk away and think of other things like being away on holiday and chilling.
“The goalkeeper didn’t move but I have always got a spot where I put the ball and that is in the back of the net.
“There’s no panic, just compose yourself and think of what you are going to do when you score.
“I only changed the way I take penalties after I missed one. I thought of different techniques to make sure I had a better chance of scoring. It’s working out alright at the moment and touch wood it continues.”
Carra analyses Toney’s penalty technique
Carragher went on to analyse Toney’s penalty technique and he thinks goalkeepers coming up against the striker have a thankless task when trying to deny him from the spot.
“I go back to when I was a child watching football and the first person I saw do something similar was John Aldridge, who used to have a stuttered run-up, wait for the goalkeeper to dive, then put it in the other side,” he told Monday Night Football.
“This is different because it’s such a short run-up. The courage he shows comes from the confidence of scoring so often.
Toney’s incredible penalty record…
Excluding shootouts, Ivan Toney has converted all 22 of his penalty attempts for Brentford in all competitions, while only Yaya Toure (11/11) has a better 100 per cent record from the spot in Premier League history than Ivan Toney (10/10).
“He doesn’t believe he’s going to miss a penalty and I don’t think a goalkeeper believes he’s going to save it with this technique.
“Yaya Toure scored more, but I don’t think his technique was so specialised or one way.
“I don’t know how you prepare for it if you’re a goalkeeper. We know about the stats they get now about where players put penalties. We see goalkeepers in penalty shootouts with takers on their water bottles.
“I’m sure if you’re a goalkeeper coming up against Brentford, you’ll have a plan through the week, but I’m not quite sure what you do. If you dive early, he just puts it in the other corner. If you don’t move, you’re not going to get to the corner when he puts it there.
He’s just super confident. That’s what you have to be if you take penalties in the manner he does.
“When you’re growing up as a kid and you listen to your coaches or your dad about certain things, you’re always told, if you take a penalty, to have a decent run-up, put your foot through it, and know where you’re going to put it before you take it. Don’t change your mind on the way up.
“He does everything the opposite of that. He waits for the ‘keeper. He doesn’t know where he’s going to put it until the very last second. I think young kids now are not going to be taking the advice I was given.
“He’s flipped it, where the ‘keeper is actually scared to go because he knows he’s going to leave half the goal empty. He’s flipped the mentality and the psyche of taking a penalty between the taker and the goalkeeper.”
Carra: Toney one of the best attackers in the Premier League | ‘He’s not just a goalscorer’
Carragher went on to call Toney one of the best attackers in the Premier League, saying there is more to his game than just goals.
“He’s one of the best attacking players in the league,” Carragher said.
“I don’t say that lightly because I know there are a lot of great players in the league, but when I see some of the things he does, he’s an all-round footballer.
“I still can’t believe he didn’t go to the World Cup. I understand England have a lot of top players but I’d have certainly taken him.
“It’s not because of how many goals he scores but because of how big an influence he is on a game, especially for Brentford.
“His hold-up play and bringing players in, he is very reminiscent of Harry Kane in some ways.
“When you watch Kane play we know he’s one of the best goalscorers we’ve seen in the Premier League, but I class him as a great player.
“I class Ivan Toney as a great player. He’s not just a goalscorer. There is more to his game than just a goalscorer.”