Former West Bromwich Albion forward Kevin Phillips has praised Taylor Gardner-Hickman for his performance in the club’s latest Championship clash.
Baggies manager Valerien Ismael decided to turn to the full-back for inspiration in his side’s meeting with Hull City on Wednesday as Gardner-Hickman was drafted in as a replacement for Darnell Furlong who missed this clash after being dismissed during the club’s 3-0 defeat to Fulham.
The 19-year-old went on to deliver an assured display for West Brom at The Hawthorns as he helped his side keep a clean-sheet in what was his first Championship appearance for the club.
Karlan Grant’s strike in the second-half of this fixture sealed all three points as the Baggies closed the gap between them and league leaders AFC Bournemouth.
Set to host Middlesbrough this weekend, Ismael is likely to recall Furlong to the club’s starting eleven for this fixture as the defender has now served his suspension.
Ahead of the club’s showdown with Boro, Phillips has praised Gardner-Hickman for stepping up to the mark for the Baggies’ senior side.
Speaking to West Brom News, Phillips said: “It’s great to see a player being put into such an important game.
“West Brom needed a result after the difficult game at the weekend, that was a tough one, so it was important.
“To put the kid in for his league debut is a credit to him.”
Phillips later added: “Ismael obviously thinks very highly of Gardner-Hickman and credit to him because he’s had to go out there and put a performance in.
“Well done to him.”
Phillips’ comments are spot-on as Gardner-Hickman unquestionably enhanced his reputation by producing a positive performance against Hull.
The defender made two tackles and completed two successful dribbles in this fixture as he recorded a respectable WhoScored match rating of 6.88.
Having illustrated that he is capable of competing at this level, it will be intriguing to see whether Gardner-Hickman is able to make any further inroads at The Hawthorns.
Whilst it is safe to say that Furlong is unlikely to lose his place in West Brom’s side in the coming months due to the fact that he has featured in all but one of the club’s league fixtures this season, Gardner-Hickman could be in line to feature for the club if his team-mates suffers an injury setback or picks up another suspension.