West Bromwich Albion forward Karlan Grant has revealed his close friendship with teammate Callum Robinson has proved crucial in paying dividends on the pitch, speaking to the Express and Star.
24-year-old Grant scored a vital second-half brace to secure all three points against previous early promotion-challengers Queens Park Rangers, who had taken the lead within a minute through Andre Gray.
After three consecutive league draws since the international break, dropping points would have been a further setback to a side that were starting to feel the discontent from their fans after failing to turn ties into victories.
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Some of that frustration was directed towards Grant, who has struggled to adapt to life at The Hawthorns since his £15m move from Huddersfield Town last October and was only able to record one goal in 21 Premier League appearances last term.
This is a far cry from the 19 goals he scored in 43 displays for his former side during the 2019/20 campaign – and now he’s back in the second tier – he will be hoping this is the perfect opportunity to kickstart his career as a Baggie.
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His brace on Friday night against Mark Warburton’s side has taken him up to five goal contributions in nine second-tier games – and he has Callum Robinson to thank after seeing the Republic of Ireland international grab the assists for both of those crucial goals.
Opening up on his relationship with Robinson, Grant said to the Express and Star: “We’re like big kids on a playground.
“It’s good, I think he has assisted all my goals since I have been here which he was talking about in the changing room!
“We get on, I actually knew Callum before I came.
“But I think it helps you on the pitch if you get on off it.
“To be fair we all get on, but me and Callum we have a lot of banter in the changing room and I think that helps.
“I think everyone saw that in the celebration at the end, hopefully, we have more moments like that.
“It’s been natural on and off the pitch. We bounce off each other which is good.”
Team morale will be crucial in any West Brom promotion push this season, so it should be music that Baggies fans ears that the duo get on well off the pitch as well as on it.
This relationship has been particularly crucial for Grant who arrived at The Hawthorns will a huge weight of expectation on his shoulders with the £15m transfer last October. Although his price tag shouldn’t make a difference, he will be keen to repay that trust placed in him by the second-tier side’s hierarchy.
He can do that both financially and on the pitch by helping to guide Valerien Ismael’s side back to the top flight – and this hunger will only help to replace any remaining nerves that are in the 24-year-old’s mind after sealing his move to the West Midlands less than 12 months ago.
This combination will be mutually beneficial for Robinson, who will be hoping to get back into the swing of things swiftly as he looks set to play regularly again. There will also be a considerable amount of pressure on him to perform after scoring three goals in his opening three games of the Championship season.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them start together for tomorrow night’s tie against Cardiff City, potentially in place of Matt Phillips who didn’t perform that well on Friday and was withdrawn in the 54th minute.
Grady Diangana’s starting spot may also be in danger, although Ismael may be reluctant to take him out and damage his confidence.