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Kevin Phillips reacts as player returns to West Brom fold

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Former West Bromwich Albion forward Kevin Phillips has hailed Kyle Bartley as a ‘leader’ and expressed his delight at seeing the central defender back in action, speaking to West Brom News.

The 30-year-old was missing from the Baggies’ matchday squad in the match before last against Queens Park Rangers in the middle of this month, having previously been one of the first names on the teamsheet for Valerien Ismael’s men.

It was revealed that he had missed out due to a minor ankle injury, leaving Albion with a severe shortage in this position with Matt Clarke the only natural centre-back starting against Mark Warburton’s side due to Cedric Kipre’s red card against Brighton and Hove Albion.

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However, both Kipre and Bartley started for the promotions chasers on Saturday afternoon, remaining solid in the absence of Semi Ajayi who has been away with Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations.

This clean sheet allowed the Baggies to push forward and finally make the breakthrough in the 78th minute through Kipre, with this goal and their solidity providing them with the confidence to score twice more as they secured a 3-0 victory over Peterborough United.

Phillips is one man who was delighted to see Bartley return despite not being able to get on the scoresheet, as the West Midlands outfit recorded another clean sheet.

Speaking to West Brom News about the defender, the ex-striker said: “Of course it is (a boost to have him back). You’ve got a big, solid, strong centre half.

“He’s also a leader. He organises the players on the pitch. The manager will also be glad to have him back.”

The Verdict:

Having Bartley back is a major boost – and this is not just because he’s another option in central defence – although that was vital as well.

Albion have struggled to field three orthodox centre-backs at times this term with Covid cases and injuries coming into play, so having Clarke, Kipre and Bartley there at the weekend was a major boost and if they can stay fit, that will majorly boost their promotion hopes.

Their lack of attacking firepower at times this season may be their main problem and the fact Conor Townsend and others can step in is a real relief, but it can only be a plus to see as many central defenders available as possible.

In terms of Bartley specifically, he has the experience at his disposal to guide Ismael’s men back to the top flight at the first time of asking and can be relied upon to be a real leader at the back.

Now it’s time for the club’s attackers to step up to the plate and capitalise on any further slip-ups that AFC Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers will suffer at the business end of the campaign.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Kevin Phillips reacts as player returns to West Brom fold

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