Why Brentford striker Ivan Toney is 'built' for the Premier League

Ivan Toney
Ivan Toney shrugs off Max Kilman in the build-up to Brentford's second goal at Molineux

For a long time, there had been a sense that Ivan Toney was a Premier League player in waiting.

The 25-year-old has been in the top flight before, but after two substitute appearances for Newcastle in 2015-16, he dropped into the Football League.

Now with Brentford, Toney has risen to the Premier League after several loan moves and an impressive permanent stint at Peterborough.

He scored 33 goals in his debut season to fire the Bees into the big time and the English forward is showing no signs of looking back, scoring and assisting in his side's 2-0 win over Wolves on Saturday.

"What a player. What a mentality. What a presence," his manager Thomas Frank told BT Sport.

"They [Wolves] make the penalty on him and he executed it himself. It was also a fantastic assist and he was ever present all over the pitch."

'Toney built for this league'

The Bees are in England's top division for the first time since the 1946-47 season and manager Frank is confident he can rely on his lead striker.

Toney has played every minute of the Londoners' opening five league games, scoring two goals so far and assisting another.

The striker opened his account at Villa Park before returning to the West Midlands to play a crucial role in victory over Wolves at Molineux.

He won a first-half penalty after being wrestled to the ground by Marcal, before rising to his feet and calmly converting the opener from the spot.

Minutes later, he turned provider to shrug off Max Kilman and lay strike partner Bryan Mbeumo's first Premier League goal on a plate.

"When you've got someone like Ivan Toney up front, who is built for this league - he's big, he's calm and he can pick a pass - you're in with a chance. He's been outstanding," former Tottenham defender Alan Hutton said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Toney was a constant thorn in Wolves' side, winning more duels (21) and more aerial battles (eight) than any other player on the field.

The importance of holding up the ball was crucial when Brentford went down to 10 men after Shandon Baptiste's sending off, but Toney was also influential in linking play and providing a threat, as he made more passes in the opposition half (22) than any of his outfield team-mates.

An emphatic performance won high praise from his manager, who said his striker was "superb".

Speaking after the game, Toney said the "disrespect" from opposition players helps as motivation.

"A few opponents when we go down say you're not in the Championship now," he told Match of the Day.

"They disrespect us and that pushes us on even more. A few teams underestimate us and we just go out there and do what we've been doing.

"We fear nobody."

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