Daryl Dike hasn’t been able to hit the ground running as he would like with West Brom so far due to an injury, and Steve Bruce wants to ensure he continues that step up to match fitness over summer.
To do so, Bruce has admitted he plans to tell the USA that he doesn’t want the forward to be part of their plans over the summer, as reported by Birmingham Live.
Having bagged nine goals in just 13 league starts for Barnsley during his loan stint there last season, the hope was that he could have a similar impact with the Baggies. He was snapped up on a permanent basis and was expected to end their poor run of being below-par in front of goal.
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However, the striker never got the chance. The 21-year-old managed just one start for his new side in the league before suffering an injury that has since ruled him out of all competitive action. He’s instead had to sit on the sidelines as Steve Bruce has managed to turn the tide around at the club – although they’ve still been unable to get back into the play-off places.
Now, with the season set to come to a close, the Baggies will be hoping they can instead turn to Dike next year to help them have a real go for promotion again. It might mean an off-season of trying to get the player up to match fitness but with his national side having games to play, there is a chance he could be called into action.
Bruce though isn’t too keen on the idea and told Birmingham Live that he plans to have a discussion with the country over the use of the forward this summer. He said: ” We’re going to have to have that conversation with the USA because he is still not right.
“To ask him, when he’s been out for four months, to go and play in a game without any pre-season… we’ll have those conversations with the relevant people. That’s on my agenda this week and the beginning of next week.
“It’s just not right for him to be anywhere near it.”
Steve Bruce is only acting in the best interests of himself, the player and West Brom by trying to get Dike out of those international games.
There is no point in the striker suddenly returning to a starting eleven when he isn’t fit to play, especially when he has been sat out for so long without featuring off the bench or in any game at all. It could really set him back again and do further damage to his injury.
Bruce then is right in what he is doing. West Brom have not had the best season this year and they’ll want to be much higher up in the division in the next campaign. Ideally, they’d be expecting the play-offs at a minimum and they might need a fit and firing Dike to do that. If he is sidelined again, he is useless to them.
The USA then would probably be best off not playing him at all, as the Baggies boss wants. Whether he is able to get his wish or not though will only become apparent when the squad is announced and the fixtures take place.