West Brom boss Slaven Bilic has challenged Romaine Sawyers to rediscover his best form.
The 28-year-old, in Bilic’s opinion, was the best midfielder in the Sky Bet Championship last season as the Baggies won promotion, but playing Premier League football for the first time in his career is proving steep learning curve.
Sawyers was dropped to the bench against Burnley and left out of the matchday squad altogether at Brighton this week.
He will hope to be back involved when West Brom travel to Fulham on Monday night, with Bilic saying: “We have extra competition, but we need Romaine. We need good Romaine, we need the Romaine who can dominate the games.
“That’s what we want from him. We want him how he played last season, especially in the first half of last season, in the Championship where he was – from my point of view – the best midfielder in the league.
“That’s what we want from him because firstly this is a very important position for the team offensively and defensively.
“He is one of the main players for us. We need him. We weren’t that active in the transfer window in that position, because of the budget but also because of him and I believe in him of course, still.
“But he has to do it on the pitch, everyday in training and every time he has the chance to do it in the game.
“He’s a player I speak to a lot, minimum once a week. Not only now, but since I came here. He knows exactly what I want from him and what the team needs from him. He wants the same, to be fair.
“Are we going to help him and am I going to help him? Definitely. But he has to be the one who is going to provoke it on the pitch, with the help of everyone else.”
Dara O’Shea is back in full training ahead of West Brom’s trip to Craven Cottage. The defender missed the 1-1 draw with Brighton on Monday due to an ankle injury and he should return to the squad.
Kamil Grosicki could also be included after returning to the club following the news that his loan move to Nottingham Forest this month was not ratified by the EFL.
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