A promising graduate of the West Bromwich Albion academy, Rekeem Harper’s first half of the season was hampered due to the Baggies’ number of options in midfield.
The youngster couldn’t get in ahead of the likes of Jake Livermore, Romaine Sawyers and Conor Gallagher so had to seek first-team football elsewhere for the second half of the campaign.
And he found it nearby at Birmingham City, who took him on loan in January with hopes at The Hawthorns that he would get regular football.
Let’s assess Harper’s situation at St Andrew’s two months into his spell there.
How’s it gone so far?
Harper didn’t start in his first four games at the club, but since the February 17 game away at Millwall the 21-year-old has started every single game, which will no doubt please West Brom.
He’s not been able to notch any goals or assists, but according to Sofascore Harper has a decent range of passing, with 81% of them completed per game and he also makes 1.1 tackles per game, which is good considering Harper is thought of as a more forward-thinking player.
Harper though does lose possession on average 6.7 times every game, which could be an issue going forward and if those kind of stats keep up, he may be fearing for his place in the team.
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What issues does he face?
New manager Lee Bowyer has plenty of options to choose from in the middle of the park, and for his first two games he went with Harper and Gary Gardner as a tandem.
That could change though as he gets to grips with his squad more during the international break, with the likes of Ivan Sunjic and Mikel San Jose waiting in the wings.
Harper’s place in the team isn’t necessarily secure, especially with the Blues coming off the back of a 3-0 defeat, so he may feel the wrath of squad rotation in the next game.
Obviously Harper’s mind will be on trying to help Birmingham stay up, but as a contracted West Brom player he will obviously thinking about his future there this summer.
West Brom look likely to be relegated back to the Championship for the 2021/22 season, and when they were in the second tier last time, Harper made 10 appearances.
He’s developed a lot since then so there’s every chance he could he used even more when he goes back to The Hawthorns.
For now though, Harper must focus on keeping his place in the Birmingham line-up for the rest of the season.