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Ivan Toney makes return to action in behind-closed-doors friendly for Brentford

Brentford striker Ivan Toney has featured for the first time since the second week of May having taken part in a friendly against Italian lower league outfit Como earlier today.

Toney was handed an eight-month ban towards the back end of last season after he was found guilty of breaching FA regulations with respect to gambling.

The England international, who only just resumed training a fortnight ago, was handed a starting role as Brentford took on Como at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

Toney found the back of the net on his return to action but couldn’t help his side to victory as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

While he is not eligible to feature in competitive matches until January 17, Toney will be keen to work his way back up to optimal match fitness ahead of a potential big move in 2024.

Chelsea and Arsenal are firm admirers of Toney, and a transfer fee of around £60 million has been mooted.

Amid the speculation surrounding Toney’s future, Brentford manager Thomas Frank is desperate to keep hold of his star striker, although he also acknowledged that any decision on Toney’s future is beyond him.

“For me, as a coach, I don’t want to sell him,“ Frank said (via Football Daily). Of course, I want my best players, so I say [to the directors] don’t sell him.

“Ivan is a world-class player, so why should we sell a world-class player? I rather want him to play here for the rest of his contract, but that’s not up to me to decide.”

Brentford will continue life without Toney on Saturday when they visit Old Trafford to face off against Manchester United.

The Bees have made an underwhelming start to the 2023-24 Premier League campaign and currently sit 14th in the table with just seven points amassed from as many matches.

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