Forget John Terry and go for youth, legend Wile tells West Brom
Legendary Albion defender John Wile has urged Tony Pulis to pursue younger centre-backs than John Terry.
Wile, who made more than 600 appearances for the Baggies, reckons the former Chelsea captain has been the best centre-half in England for the past two decades.
But he thinks time has now got the best of the 36-year-old, who is also interesting West Midlands rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham City.
“I’ve seen John Terry play and I think he’s by far and away the best centre half in England for a long time,” said Wile. “I’ve seen him at The Hawthorns and quite honestly he’s played in his slippers, he’s strolled through games.
“You could have taken his shirt off and put it back in the cupboard because he’s been in such command.
“But having seen him of late I just think there comes a time when, as good as a player as you are, you need to say ‘I can’t really do it at the top level’.
“That might be because Terry hasn’t been given enough games recently - but I think it is nearing time for him to pack it in.
“He’s still a useful player, if he did come, he’d still be a good signing. But my personal view is given the ageing defence that we’ve already got, the club has got to be looking for someone a lot younger than that.”
With Gareth McAuley turning 38 in December, Wile wants any new centre-backs to add more pace to the back line, and it’s a concern he holds all over the pitch.
“We’re not blessed with the greatest of pace throughout the team,” he said. “I think we do lack that all over the field.
“(Matt) Phillips and (James) McClean both like to run at people and play with pace, you can see the threat that’s in the team when they’re in the side.”
“But obviously, it depends how your side is set up and what you’re asking of them.
“That’s one of the difficulties that Tony has, if his team is not winning or playing reasonably attractive football than he leaves himself open to be criticised.
“I think he accepts that, he’s big enough, strong enough, and thick-skinned enough to know that comes with the territory.”