Brentford’s David Raya backed to make most of first Spain call-up

The Independent
The Independent

Brentford fc boss Thomas Frank is in no doubt David Raya will make the most of his first call-up for Spain.

The Bees goalkeeper has been included in Luis Enrique’s 23-man squad for the friendlies against Albania and Iceland – but there is no place for Manchester United number one David De Gea.

Barcelona-born Raya, 26, joined the Bees from Blackburn in 2019 and helped them secure promotion to the Premier League for the first time.

Athletic Bilbao stopper Unai Simon and Brighton’s Robert Sanchez will provide stiff competition to break into the international side.

Frank, though, is confident Raya – fit again following an extended lay-off with a knee injury – can prove he is up for the challenge.

“He was top three in the Championship, maybe better, the year that we lost in the play-offs,” the Brentford boss said. “He was heavily involved in the first goal that decided that (2020) play-off final (against Fulham) which was devastating for him.

“I clearly remember going to him the day after saying he needed to be even braver and have an even higher starting position the next year.

“We then got to the Premier League and he performed unbelievably well in the first eight games, then he got another slap in the face with the big injury.

“He has come back even stronger. We all know that mental mindset is so important; that is one thing that only gets stronger with the setbacks. You can’t have a strong mentality if you don’t have any setbacks.”

Frank told a press conference: “David has clear and obvious abilities in terms of playing with his feet, high position, and being very aggressive in coming for crosses. He definitely deserves it.”

Christian Eriksen has been named in the Denmark squad – just nine months after suffering a cardiac arrest during Euro 2020.

The 30-year-old – whose heart stopped during the match against Finland in Copenhagen last June – was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), allowing him to continue his career after leaving Inter Milan.

Eriksen, who joined the Bees during January, has made successive 90-minute appearances in the past two Premier League games, and provided an assist in the win over Burnley.

“It was a very special day for him, his family, and us involved, when he came on against Newcastle because of what happened back in June,” said Frank, who had a spell in charge of Denmark’s youth international teams early in his career.

“That was a milestone and the next milestone he needs to get past is when he puts the Danish shirt on and steps into Parken (Stadium). Hopefully, after that, it is only football with Christian.”

Brentford will look to continue their drive towards Premier League safety when they head to Leicester on Sunday.

Frank reported no fresh selection concerns ahead of the trip to the King Power Stadium.

Midfielder Josh Dasilva remains unavailable as he serves out the last match of his three-game suspension for a red card against Newcastle last month.

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