Exclusive interview: Hal Robson-Kanu ready to repay the West Brom fans

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He's already a massive fan favourite, and he was recently nominated for FIFA Goal of the Year, but Hal Robson-Kanu is yet to start a game for the Baggies.

Although he's confident he can add another dimension to Albion's team, he's also willing to put in the hours needed on the training pitch in order to gain that chance.

"Everyone wants to play football," he admits, in an exclusive interview.

"But you have to be patient sometimes. I'm working hard in training, and I've been happy with my performances when I've been on the pitch.

"I'm trying to work my way into the side, but it's not about individual players, it's about the team."

Those words will be music to the ears of head coach Tony Pulis, whose Albion tenure has been plagued by another striker, Saido Berahino, focusing too much on himself.

Robson-Kanu, on the other hand, is very much a team player, a physical specimen who has looked strong and athletic in his eight substitute appearances so far.

The 27-year-old striker has immediately embraced the central tenets of Pulis's hard-working outfit.

He's had to, in order to prove himself. Because his spell at The Hawthorns got off to a rocky start following some candid words from his new boss.


"He wasn't one of my main targets, there are no hints about it," said Pulis after Albion snapped up the free agent on deadline day.

But the former Reading striker wasn't perturbed, and he soon won round his new head coach.

Speaking about those comments for the first time, he said: "It's easy to take things out of context and exaggerate them.

"Any club at this level looks to improve by adding quality and depth to the squad.


"As a player I'm confident in my ability and what I can do.

"I played in the Premier League a number of years ago (for Reading) and scored seven goals in a season when I was playing at the wing.

"I've performed at this level, it's just about getting the chance."

That was Robson-Kanu's highest scoring season for the Royals and the Wales international believes his game is naturally suited to the top level.

His memorable goal for Wales in the quarter-final of Euro 2016 is currently up for FIFA's Puskas Award for Goal of the Year.

"It's obviously a special feeling to be up for that award. It just caps off what was a special summer for everyone involved.

"It's a credit for all the work that the players put in, not only in the summer but building up to it. It's an honour.

"I was just trying to find half-a-yard in the opponents' box. I received the ball, the players went one way, and I went the other, so it gave me a bit more than half a yard!

"Then you're one on one with (Belgium goalkeeper) Courtois, and he makes the goal pretty small.

"I was just focused on trying to hit the back of the net. If you hit the target, you give yourself a chance.

"It was a special feeling. The fact that we were winning in the quarter-final to get to the semi-final was overwhelming and we were all delighted to achieve that."

More importantly though, he's willing to work his socks off to prove it.

That's good, because Pulis demands high levels of effort from his players.

Last week the Baggies became the first team to outrun Burnley this season when they thumped them 4-0 at The Hawthorns.

Robson-Kanu reckons it's an important string to the bow in one of the most athletic leagues in the world.

"You have to be willing to work, it becomes part and parcel of our job description," he said. "We've got a team that likes to work hard, and we're confident that we can outwork the opponents. When you couple that with the quality we have, you can win games."

The striker also believes his own game is benefiting from training alongside Premier League team-mates, and he's relishing playing under Pulis too.

"His experience is second to none," he said. "He know what's required. He gets everyone motivated, and he knows this league inside out."

Despite his patience, Robson-Kanu is still itching to get his first start.

With six games coming up in December, and four in 13 days over the Christmas period, his wish may soon be granted.

"I'm not looking that far ahead," he says. "I'm just focused on training, keeping the level of performance up, and I'm enjoying doing that."

He's also been enjoying is the reception he gets each game from the Albion supporters, who have immediately welcomed the striker into the club with the song, 'We've got Kanu, Robson-Kanu' to the tune of Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus.

"It's a massive honour when you join a club and the fans take to you," beamed the striker. "When you're playing, it's all about the fans, so hopefully we can continue to get the results they want."


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