This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more
Valerien Ismael has insisted that Kenneth Zohore is a part of his plans at West Bromwich Albion.
Zohore – who spent part of last season on loan at Millwall – has struggled for regular game time under Ismael this season.
The 27-year-old has made only two appearances in the league, playing for a combined total of 22 minutes in the first two games of the season.
But Ismael has moved to clarify Zohore’s situation, saying that the striker has been missing recently because of injury.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, he said: “He has been injured in the last few weeks. He is a West Brom player so it doesn’t change anything with our thoughts on Ken.
“He was injured so for a few weeks he was out. He needs to get back his fitness now and he needs to get the confidence of having his fitness back, but when Ken is 100 per cent fit we know we have another possibility in our front three with him.”
When Zohore is back fully fit, will he be a key part of Ismael’s plans? Here, we discuss…
I’m not convinced he’s good enough to play an important role for the Baggies but his physicality could see him used as a bit-part player.
Throwing Zohore on late in games when Albion are chasing a goal could work as a tactic, particularly given the number of balls that they’ve poured into the box in the opening months of the season.
The physical striker could be an asset when Darnell Furlong is launching his long throws into the box but I don’t see him as a better option than what Ismael has already got.
Using him late in games or as cover due to injury or rotation would make sense but the Albion boss should be looking to rely on him in my eyes.
That might sound a little unfair but nothing I’ve seen from him in recent years suggests he’s good enough for a promotion challenger.
Considering that he is now far down the pecking order at West Brom, it would be difficult to see Kenneth Zohore having a major impact for the Baggies when he returns to fitness.
Valerien Ismael needs to keep the forward motivated and believing that chances can come his way. That is because if West Brom suddenly suffered a crisis of injuries upfront they might well have to turn to him.
However, realistically the likes of Karlan Grant, Callum Robinson, Jordan Hugill and maybe even Matt Phillips would all likely be chosen by Ismael ahead of Zohore you would imagine.
Zohore is at the stage where a fresh start away from West Brom is the best possible solution for him. However, he remains under contract with there still a lot of time left before the January transfer window he just has to keep plugging away and hope his chance comes.
Ismael did attempt to bring Zohore back into the fold at West Brom at the start of the campaign, but he did not offer enough in his performances to warrant much game time since.
It would be a major shock to see Zohore return to fitness and become an important player at the Hawthorns at this stage.
Quiz: Have West Brom ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
With the nature of West Brom’s aerial bombardment tactics there is a way I can see Kenneth Zohore being an effective player for the Baggies. He offers a very different threat to the likes of Callum Robinson, Karlan Grant and Jordan Hugill.
However, the early signs are not good in terms of his relationship with Valerien Ismael and whether Zohore has the work ethic to fight for his place in the side remains to be seen. The Dane played a significant role in the club’s automatic promotion in 2019/20 and that experience could add to their current attacking contingent.
Outside his physical attributes and therefore aerial threat, I do not see him commanding a place in the first team. Zohore endured a tricky loan spell at Millwall in 2020/21 and is not a prolific striker at the level. He will not be heavily involved.