3 West Brom players who deserve more playtime after the international break
West Brom might have failed to secure promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking with a playoff defeat at the hands of Aston Villa the last term but the fans have every reason to be optimistic after an encouraging start to life under new manager Slaven Bilic.
With 3 wins and 3 draws in their first six games in the Championship, the Baggies headed into the first international break of the campaign placed 4th in the standings and Bilic is likely to be pleased with how his team has performed in the opening stages of the ongoing season.
Indeed, it is still very early to draw any conclusions but few would argue that West Brom have the depth and talent in their ranks to mount a successful push for promotion.
Nevertheless, they are one of the three teams still unbeaten in the league, which in itself can be regarded as a massive positive from their promising start to the season.
Bilic, though, hasn’t seemed too keen to rotate his players and experiment with his team dynamics in the first few games of the season, with the Croatian displaying a great level of consistency when it comes to his team selection.
While some of the players, including a few of the summer recruits, have established themselves as regular faces in the eleven, others have found it difficult to get a look in from the manager.
Yes, it is still early stages in the season and those who haven’t played a big part so far will be expected to fill in later on in the campaign.
Nonetheless, here are 3 players who might be pushing harder for more regular minutes when the Championship action resumes after the international break:
1. Rekeem Harper
The teenage sensation looked poised to depart the club earlier in the summer but Bilic apparently convinced him to stay, with the youngster penning a new deal at the Hawthorns just a few days after the new manager’s arrival at West Brom.
However, he might start to have a few doubts on whether he made the right decision over his future after being overlooked by the manager for a regular starting role in the Championship.
Harper has played a ridiculously low amount of football in the league so far, with Bilic preferring Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore as the double pivot in his 4-2-3-1 system.
Although it is hard to see that changing all of a sudden after the break, given the duo’s consistent performances, Bilic might just consider giving the youngster a few starts to keep his first-choice players fresh for the more testing fixtures.
2. Grady Diangana
The West Ham loanee has already made waves with his dazzling displays in the Championship this season but it is imperative to say that a player of his calibre should be starting every game rather than playing a bit-part role.
The jet-heeled left-footed winger came off the bench to net a double in a 2-1 victory over Luton Town, although only 2 of his four league appearances have come when he’s started, with Matt Phillips getting the nod on the right flank. Bilic has Diangana with youngster Kyle Edwards for a solitary role on the left.
Unsurprisingly, Diangana was one of the standout performers in West Brom’s 3-2 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the last game before the international break and that stellar showing should have convinced Bilic of his ability to make a massive difference.
3. Matheus Pereira
West Brom looked to have bagged a real coup when they signed Brazilian trickster Matheus Pereira on loan from Sporting Lisbon earlier in the summer but the 23-year-old has endured a rather slow start to life in English football.
With Bilic preferring Filip Krovinovic in the No.10 role behind the striker, Pereira has largely been used as a substitute and it wasn’t until the game against Blackburn Rovers that he was handed his first league start for the Baggies.
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And Pereira, who capped off a fine display with a couple of assists in the 3-2 victory over Rovers, made a strong point to Bilic that he deserves to start more games ahead of Krovinovic, who hasn’t really justified his inclusion to the fullest.
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