Players to watch out for as Brentford come to Old Trafford
With a day to go until our first pre-season game at Old Trafford, the latest edition of United Review looks at the key players to watch out for from Wednesday night's visitors, Brentford.
The first edition of United Review for the 2021/22 season is available to buy now and includes coverage of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's 25-year anniversary at Manchester United, Brentford's rise to the Premier League, Euro 2020 and United's history in friendlies.
United's pre-season, thus far, has seen the Reds beat Derby County away from home before a defeat on the road at Queens Park Rangers. Wednesday's fixture against Brentford will see the largest crowd at Old Trafford since March 2020, with around 30,000 fans set to be welcomed into the Theatre of Dreams.
Brentford will come with hunger to prove a point - to themselves as much as anyone else - with the Bees preparing for the first season in England's top-flight since 1946/47. United Review takes a look at three stand-out players for Thomas Frank's side who could feature in our friendly.
Brentford will end a 74-year wait for top-level football this August and so perhaps Ivan Toney's personal six-year wait pales in comparison. Now 26, Toney originally made his name as a 16-year-old striker at Northampton Town, becoming his hometown club's youngest-ever player.
Shortly after signing for Newcastle in August 2015, he made a substitute appearance in the league for the Magpies but his journey back to England's top-flight has been a long one with a number of twists and turns, including six loan moves at four clubs and two more transfers. Sold to Peterborough United in 2018, Toney scored 49 goals for The Posh to set up a £5 million move to Brentford in August 2020.
The Bees have previously proved an excellent stepping stone to the Premier League. Neal Maupay, Ezri Konza, Romaine Sawyers and Chris Mepham all stopped off in west London en route to the top flight. Ollie Watkins did the same and it was he whom Toney replaced as Brentford's star player, scoring a record-breaking 31 Championship goals last season. Now he has a chance to prove himself on the biggest stage.
A product of Reading's Academy, Fosu made his name not at his boyhood club, nor on his three loan moves away from the Royals, but at Charlton Athletic (65 appearances) and then Oxford United (33 appearances) under the management of Karl Robinson.
A quick-footed, direct and shot-happy left-winger, Fosu is an edge-of-your-seat player who joined Brentford from Oxford on the final day of the 2020 winter transfer window along with team-mate Shandon Baptiste. Making 11 appearances before the end of the season, Fosu came into his own after a couple of key departures at Brentford in the summer of 2020.
He made 49 appearances for the Bees last season, scoring four goals, posting four assists and earning a call-up to Ghana's senior side, for whom he scored his first goal last October. Fosu has played at right-back for Ghana and for Brentford, but arguably his best position is in the attack. The 25-year-old is positive on the ball and will relish a chance to play at Old Trafford.
Sergi Canos left Barcelona's La Masia to join Liverpool as a 16-year-old but only made one appearance for the Anfield side as a late end-of-season substitute. Having enjoyed a good loan spell at Brentford in the 2015/16 season, Canos left Liverpool to sign for Norwich City but soon returned to Brentford after a tricky time at Carrow Road.
A lively winger, Canos has since made 208 appearances for the Bees and scored 32 goals. He's a good, technical player with strong dribbling and quick footwork. Energetic and passionate, the 2020/21 season was his best as he played 55 times, scored nine times and made nine assists in the promotion-winning campaign.
It was relief for Canos who endured a serious knee injury in October 2019 and struggled to find the net for a while upon his return. Brentford boss Thomas Frank stuck by the winger and Canos was thankful for his support, repaying it with, among other things, a brilliant Boxing Day hat-trick to help Brentford come from behind to win against Cardiff.