Thomas Frank's work rewarded as Brentford admit he is perfect man for the job at Griffin Park

GIUSEPPE MURO
Frank was named Brentford's new head coach on Tuesday: Brentford FC

It was a sunny afternoon in July and Thomas Frank and Christian Eriksen were deep in conversation at Tottenham’s training ground.

Spurs had just played Brentford in a behind-closed-doors friendly and Eriksen was pleased to catch up who someone who had helped him in his youth career.

Frank was coach of the Denmark Under-16s and Under-17s when Eriksen was coming through and the Spurs midfielder will know Brentford have appointed a true talent as their new manager.

Frank was last night appointed as Dean Smith’s successor at Griffin Park after Brentford decided to recruit from within and promote him from his role as assistant head coach.

Dean Smith left this week to take the Villa job. (Action Images via Reuters)

The 45-year-old is meticulous in his way of working, although his new charges are already aware of his attention to detail as Frank often took training sessions when he was assistant to Smith. Brentford hope his appointment will mean there is minimal disruption to their push for promotion.

Frank played a key role in the way Brentford developed their style of play in the three years Smith was in charge.

Brentford’s co-director of football and fellow Dane Rasmus Ankersen said: “We have been happy with how the team has played this season and the progress that has been made over the past couple of years, so we did not want to rock the boat too much.

“We feel Thomas has done a great job and it was kind of obvious for us to continue the course we are on to appoint him. We spoke to external candidates but, in the end, we felt Thomas was ready for the job and it was the right decision.”

Frank began his coaching career in youth football in Denmark before drawing the attention of the Danish FA in 2008. In 2011, he led Denmark’s Under-17s to the semi-finals of the European Championships before moving on for a year to take charge of the country’s Under-19s.

The Bachelor of Sport graduate from the Department of Sport in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, took his first steps into club management in 2013 with Brondby.

Frank has been part of the team in west London since 2016. (Getty)

They finished third and fourth in his two years in charge before he left in 2014 after coming in for criticism by the club’s chairman on an online fan forum. Local media reported that Brondby chairman and major shareholder Jan Bech Andersen had criticised Frank under a pseudonym while using his son’s account.

After that disappointment, Frank took time out of the game, travelled, spent time with his family and also did some work as a commentator and pundit.

He always had ambition to work abroad, however, and moved to west London in 2016 as Brentford assistant head coach.

After the arrival of Smith and his assistant Richard O’Kelly, Brentford were keen for someone already on the coaching staff to represent the club in the event of Smith’s departure.

Ankersen added: “As an assistant to Dean, Thomas has been quite instrumental in the development of the team over the past two years. We do not expect a revolution. If we did not think he could improve us, we would not have given him the job.

“The stronger your identity as a club, the more important it is to recruit from within. We need to have a clear strategy to out-think our opponents and everyone at the club understands that — and Thomas understands that.”

Frank, whose first game in charge will be against Bristol City at Griffin Park on Saturday, took training today and said: “The big advantage is I know everything here. I have bought into this culture, this style of play. I will continue working this way, with this philosophy. When you are in charge you change small details but not massive things.”