West Bromwich Albion defender Kyle Bartley suggested that the performances of team-mate Kyle Edwards when he has been called on in recent weeks shows the strength and work ethic of the squad.
Edwards has found game time limited at times this season for the Baggies in the Championship, with the likes of Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips and Matheus Pereira producing a string of consistent performances to help Slaven Bilic’s side emerge as the division’s most potent attackers, having scored the most goals in the league so far this term.
The 21-year-old, though, has been a regular off the bench for the Baggies throughout the first half of the season, scoring twice in 18 appearances, and he started in West Brom’s 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic before coming on for the injured Diangana five minutes before half time in the win against Birmingham City on Saturday.
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Speaking to the Express and Star, Bartley suggested that Edwards’ recent performances against Wigan and Birmingham highlight of the strength in the Baggies’ squad and the willingness of those not playing to put the work in to make sure they are ready when needed, saying: “Kyle came on at the weekend and I thought he was brilliant.
“In the Wigan game that Kyle played – his stats that we get given from the fitness people were absolutely off the charts.
“I think he covered the most distance of any player for the whole season.
That shows if any players come in, even a skilful player, but he’s still going to run more than anyone on the pitch. He’s shown that hard work and the dedication that the manager requires from him.”
Bartley is right to suggest that Edwards deserves credit for ensuring that he has kept himself ready and fully motivated to make a real impact whenever Bilic has called on him to come into the side during the first half of the campaign.
Edwards could be given a run in the side during the next few matches after Diangana was forced off against Birmingham at the weekend, and the 21-year-old has already shown that he will be ready to come in and make an impact for the Baggies and look to see the side continue problems for their opponents.
Bilic has managed Edwards really well during the opening half of the season, and that is being rewarded with the attacker producing some consistent performances when he has been brought onto the field, which has seen him become an integral part of the Baggies’ squad so far this term.