Brentford makes Ivan Toney captain on his return from 8-month ban

AP , Friday 19 Jan 2024

Ivan Toney will not only start in his first game back from an eight-month ban for gambling violations, he'll be Brentford's captain.

Ivan Toney
FILE - Brentford's Ivan Toney gestures to the crowd following the English Premier League soccer match between Brentford and Fulham at Brentford Community Stadium in Brentford, West London, Monday, March 6, 2023. Photo: AP


Toney this week completed a suspension imposed after he admitted to 232 breaches of the English Football Association's betting rules.

“He will start tomorrow and he will also lead the team out of the tunnel, he will be the captain, because Christian is injured,” manager Thomas Frank said Friday at a pre-match press conference.

Toney on Wednesday celebrated his return by posting a GIF on X, formerly Twitter, that said: “FREE!”

An independent commission said in its report that the suspension could have been longer if not for the diagnosis of a gambling addiction.

Frank is hopeful that Toney can play a full game.

"There will be extra adrenaline in him," the manager said. “He is very fit. He’s played in-house games and played 90 minutes there, but of course that’s one thing — a Premier League is another thing. But I’m pretty sure that the excitement and the adrenaline will do the rest.”

The west London club has slipped to 16th place — three points above the relegation zone — after seven losses in its last eight league matches.

Toney brings leadership qualities beyond game days, Frank said.

“With Ivan, he’s a special character in many ways. He’s a fantastic person to be around," Frank said. "The energy he brings, the smile, the positivity everyday on the training ground, is a massive thing.”

Toney scored 17 goals in the Premier League last season, so there's speculation he'll be the target of bigger clubs in the transfer window either this month or in the summer.

In an interview with British broadcaster Sky Sports, Toney said: "Everybody wants to play for top clubs fighting for titles. But whether January is the right time, if someone was to come in and pay the right money, who knows?”

Frank reiterated on Friday that there's a better than 99% chance that Toney stays with Brentford this month thought he acknowledged “football is crazy so you never know what is going to happen tomorrow.”

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: