Angry West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke today accused Peter Odemwingie of stealing the limelight from the Baggies’ stellar Premier League season.
The Hawthorns chief spoke for the first time since Odemwingie’s latest Twitter rant and told the Nigeria international to direct any criticism ‘to his face’.
And Clarke admitted his fury that the ongoing Odemwingie saga has deflected attention from his team’s season, which looks set to end in the Baggies’ best Premier League finish.
“The biggest problem for me is that we spend so much time talking about Peter Odemwingie and all it does is deflect away from everything that the squad has achieved this season,” said Clarke during a tense press conference.
“It’s been a great season for Albion and that’s what we should be talking about – not Peter Odemwingie.
“I want to talk about the rest of the players and not one player.”
Odemwingie is in the Baggies squad for tomorrow’s Premier League trip to West Ham, but Clarke hinted he would prefer to leave the 31-year-old at home.
Odemwingie took to Twitter again last week to criticise the club over a lack of first-team action, accuse team-mates of talking behind his back and tell a critical fan he wanted to be sacked.
He was fined two weeks’ wages in January following a similar outburst and a drive to QPR on transfer deadline day and faces a similar punishment this time around.
“At the moment, because of the size of the squad I’ve got, he has to be part of the squad,” said Clarke.
Clarke, who looks set to be without midfielder James Morrison tomorrow because of a hamstring problem, called a halt to Odemwingie questions, but only after responding to the player’s criticism of team selection.
“If he’s got something to say to me he should come and say it to my face,” said Clarke.
“He has to come to me. He’s the one that has the grievance, not me.
“I am absolutely bored with the whole episode.”