#4 The development of players

Last summers overhaul in the squad resulted in Albion recruiting some wonderfully gifted players who have turned out to be fan favourites at the Hawthorns.

Although one element which the squad lacked was top level experience.

The Premier League know-how of Craig Dawson, Jay Rodriguez, Dwight Gayle and James Morrison all departed the club, and this summer the club allowed two veterans in Chris Brunt and Gareth Barry to leave.

Around half of the Baggies squad at the time of writing are yet to play in the top flight of English football, whilst the likes of Darnell Furlong, Callum Robinson and Kyle Bartley have only played limited minutes in the division.

One major reason for many members of the squad not yet having played Premier League football is due to the stage of their career, with many still at a young age.

Grady Diangana is only 22 and so is Kyle Edawrds; Dara O’Shea is 21; Darnell Furlong and Matheus Pereira are both 24, with midfield duo Conor Gallagher and Rekeem Harper both being 20 years of age.

One thing a season of top flight football will do for these younger players is make them considerably better: constant exposure to some of the best players in the world will only develop them further.

This could be vital to Albion in the near future when players’ values may rise exponentially as they then become assets which provide financial security.

Not having previously appeared in the Premier League doesn’t make someone a bad player by any means; Matheus Pereira showed his worth at Goodison Park with a sublimely taken free kick in only his second ever Premier League match.

One thing it does mean though, is the experience that remains in the squad will be invaluable to Slaven Bilić; the acquisition of Branislav Ivanović will bring exactly that. Figures such as Jake Livermore and Charlie Austin who both know what it takes to succeed at this level will also provide insight on and off the pitch.

The know-how will be instrumental to grinding out results even when the team isn’t playing well, something that is vital in a bid for survival.

With the potential improvement that the players will make whilst playing Premier League football, if the worst case scenario does occur with Albion being relegated, the club will at the very least be in a position to either cash in on their players or push for an instant return.


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