6 reasons why Thomas Frank would be a sound choice for Brentford

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 16 October 2018, 12:08

Following Dean Smith’s departure for Aston Villa, his former assistant, Thomas Frank, is the current 1/5 favourite with Paddy Power to be the next Brentford head coach.

Here’s why he would be a good fit for the club.

1. Continuity

Promoting from within is a logical response to losing a manager and head coach at a time when the club in question is, generally, in a healthy position.

Appointing Frank, who has worked as assistant to Dean Smith for the last 22 months, would show that Brentford want to change as little as possible about the current setup.

He already know every detail about the current playing squad, as well as the current training regimes and the recruitment plans, putting him in pole position to hit the ground running.

2. Develops young players

It would be an advantage that Frank has led various youth teams; including Denmark between U16 and U19 level for half a decade.

Although Brentford do not have an academy, nine of their last 14 major signings are under 24, which highlights the club’s desire to find re-sale value in the players they add.

For that reason, it’s important they have a head coach who understands how to nurture young players.

 

Without making unfair generalizations, we tend to find that older players find it easier to self-motivate, chiefly because they are the main bread-winner in their family.

Younger players though, who are used to Under-23s football, often need more guidance and support, which means it takes a certain type of coach to get the best out of them.

3. He has managed

There have been cases of very good coaches struggling to have the same influence when given the task of being a number one; see Luke Williams at Swindon and Nick Daws at Scunthorpe.

It is important, therefore, that Frank has experience of senior management; he led Brondby to 3rd and 4th placed finishes in the Danish Superliga.

He handled the media well during his time there and is very well-spoken, which is a vital ingredient in a good coach becoming a good manager.

 

4. Playing out from the back

While at Brondby, he gained credit for implementing expansive, possession football with an emphasis on improving his players’ technical capabilities.

That suits the current squad. For example, centre-backs Ezri Konsa and Chris Mepham complete 89% and 88% of their passes respectively.

Interestingly, former Bees centre-back Harlee Dean, now at Birmingham, completes just 53% of his passes.

For Brentford to continue to dominate games at home, they need a boss who will stay true to the club’s methods and that means doing a lot of work with the centre-backs on distribution.

5. Marcondes to add directness?

Under Smith, all Brentford’s play revolved around Romaine Sawyers, with whom he had worked at Walsall.

Sawyers has an excellent football brain and, by dictating play so well on the edge of the final third, he has master-minded convincing home victories over Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Wigan.

 

However, Sawyers tends to play two or three sideways passes within a 10-second period before he picks out the one killer pass that splits open defensive units.

What makes the St Kitts & Nevis international so effective against deep-block sides – his patience – is also partly what can make him less effective against when Brentford are put under pressure, especially away from home.

If all the space is in front of the number 10, then logically the best first pass is a forward one.

There might, therefore, be some scenarios in which Emiliano Marcondes might be better suited to the 10 role than Sawyers.

The 23-year-old, named Danish Superliga’s Player of the Year as recently as 2017, is the type to break beyond the main striker. He can potentially get more goals and assists, offering excellent quality from set pieces and has aggressive side to his game which might prove necessary away from home.

Frank should be able to get the best out of Marcondes, with whom he worked in Denmark’s Under-17s; introducing him to the side once he returned to contention could help the Bees solve their problems away from home.

6. He knows what doesn’t work

Brentford have got a hell of a lot right – their rise from being a midtable League One side to one admired across the Championship and even English football generally is quite something.

 

Equally though, there is always room for improvement and the Bees are not perfect – it could be argued that, with the quality of players now available thanks to Smith’s excellent coaching, they perhaps should be in the top six.

There’s things for Frank to learn from. For example, he will have seen that Josh McEachran and Lewis MacLeod do not have the same influence on midfield battles away from home as they do at Griffin Park.

But, when Nico Yennaris and Kamohelo Mokotjo came into the side for the 1-1 draw at Leeds last time out, the team had the necessary industry in central areas to earn the right to play.

Essentially, Frank is well-placed to ensure continuity in most areas of the first team but also make one or two positive tweaks to take Brentford to the next level.

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