Brentford

Thomas Frank on why resilient David Raya 'massively deserves' Spain call-up

Sean Walsh
David Raya was included in the squad over David de Gea
David Raya was included in the squad over David de Gea / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages
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Brentford boss Thomas Frank has praised David Raya's mentality after the goalkeeper received his first call-up to the Spain national side.

The 26-year-old has not featured for La Furia Roja at any level before and is a relative unknown back in his native country after heading to England aged 17 to sign for Blackburn Rovers.

Raya joins Brighton's Robert Sanchez and Athletic Club's Unai Simon as the goalkeepers in Luis Enrique's squad for the March internationals, notably coming into the setup in place of Manchester United stalwart David de Gea.

When asked how much Raya deserved the call-up, Frank replied: "I'm a little bit biased of course, but massively.

"I think David, his performances when we were in the Championship, I think top three the year we lost the play-off final [2019/2020]."

With 2020's Championship play-off final tied at 0-0 in extra-time, Raya made a critical error that allowed Fulham's Joe Bryan to score the opening goal in what was an eventual 2-1 loss for Brentford.

But Frank insisted that Raya's performances since that showing prove that he has a top mentality that goes hand-in-hand with his distinctive distribution.

"Of course he was heavily involved with the first goal that play-off final. That was devastating for him," Frank continued.

"I clearly remember I went to him straight after or the day after and said, 'You just have to be more brave, have an even higher position next year and do it better'.

"And then we got to the Premier League, he's performing unbelievably well the first eight games, and then he had another slap in his face with a big injury.

"He's come back stronger on both occasions. I think that mentality we all know, or mental state in the game, the mindset is so important, so that's one thing you know you're only building stronger with your setbacks. You can't have a strong mentality if you don't have any setbacks.

"I know setbacks are different to a lot of people, but his clear and obvious abilities in terms of playing with his feet, high position, very aggressive in terms of his positioning and going for crosses, he definitely deserves this."

When asked if this call-up was a shock considering it meant De Gea dropped out of the Spain squad, Frank added: "I think [Raya] was on the provisional [Spain squad] list just before his injury last time. He didn't get the [full] call-up, actually.

"But he's been on the radar from the Federation of Spain, I'm pleased to see him there. I think it shows definitely a lot of credit to him because there's a lot of good goalkeepers for Spain."

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