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Darren Moore confident Rekeem Harper will sign new contract

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Darren Moore is confident teenage starlet Rekeem Harper will sign a new contract at the Baggies.

Rekeem Harper impressed today. (AMA)

Harper impressed in midfield during today's 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup third round, and staked a claim for a regular spot with Jake Livermore currently suspended.

The 18-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, but Moore, who has worked with him since he was 11, believes he will sign a new deal.

"We've been talking," Moore confirmed. "Rekeem Harper's future is here at West Brom, we know Rekeem inside out.

"I've worked with Rekeem since he was U12, so the place for him to fulfil his potential is here at the football club.

"We are going to have more talks with him, settle him and his advisors down, because I'm under no doubt that this is the place for Rekeem Harper to develop and become a fully-fledged first team player."

Harper has been named in the majority of Moore's squads this season, but has mainly featured in the Cup competitions.

"I'm delighted for Rak, because he's only been converted to a midfielder in the past three seasons," said Moore.

"He's very new to the role but he's got wonderful balance, his first touch and control is excellent, he moves the ball away from danger and he's got the ability to put his foot on the gas and move with the ball."

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Harper's performance was just one of a number of impressive displays from Albion's fringe players over a toothless Wigan side.

"It was a perfect afternoon," said Moore. "I'm pleased with the result and the performance.

"If I had one small critique, we could have probably won the game by more goals. We had chances in both halves.

"But overall I'm very pleased. We worked with the squad in the week. The development of our academy players over the season – Sam, Rekeem, Jonathan – I thought it was right for them to start the game.

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"I thought they all contributed massively, they showed calmness and composure, used the ball well.

"That was an experienced Wigan team, and they felt they were in a really good game. I was really pleased overall with the players."

Moore said both Field and Harper had staked a claim for Livermore's vacant spot in midfield.

"They've gone about it the right way this afternoon," he said. "Both are very different players, both complement each other very well in terms of their style of play.

"I'm really pleased with Rekeem and we know how well Sam can use the ball at times.

"Both of them, along with Chris Brunt, managed the ball very well. It made Wigan change their shape because of how we were controlling midfield."

Oliver Burke has been sent out on loan to Celtic for the second half of the season in order to get football, but Moore said it was slightly more complicated sending Harper or Field out.

"If the right move comes for them, we'll look at it," he said. "But you've seen how they've played today and Jake Livermore has got a red card ban.

"They're staking a claim for that spot and they're our players so we're looking first and foremost at that."

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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