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Bilic’s harsh words get Harper on track

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

REKEEM HARPER has responded to a dressing down from Slaven Bilic by putting in a number of outstanding performances in training, the head coach has revealed.

Rekeem Harper

The highly-rated teenager, who was born in Birmingham, made 23 appearances for the Baggies last season.

But this year he has featured just twice – with the 19-year-old coming off the bench in the opening day win at Nottingham Forest before then starting against Millwall in the League Cup.

And Bilic revealed it was after that cup game he told the central-midfielder he wasn’t happy with him.

“We have a few players at the minute who can’t make the squad and they are good players,” the boss said.

“Rekeem Harper is one who is training unbelievably well.

“At the beginning, I wasn’t happy with him, I told him that.

“After Millwall in the cup, I had a chat with him.

“Since then, the numbers are saying – and we like to get those numbers – that he’s training like crazy.

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“He’s excellent in training, but at the moment it’s very difficult (to get into the side).

“His reaction has been great and positive.”

Albion weren’t in action last weekend due to the international break.

That allowed Bilic to reflect on the start his team has made to the new campaign.

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But while the boss has been pleased with performances overall, he does feel Albion should have more points on the board.

“We have analysed the games we have played so far and we have had a bit of a rest because we haven’t had a small break since early June,” the 50-year-old said.

“It’s been pre-season and then the start of the season. It was a good break for us.

“I am pleased with the way we are playing and I am pleased with the results.

“Okay, we wanted to win them all.

“To be fair, if you have a look at them individually - I think we should have won more.

“Definitely the couple of home games we drew, with respect to the opponent who were very good and played their part in the game.

“But those 90 minutes against Reading and Millwall, we were the ones who created more chances.

“I would love us to have a few more points, but we have done well so far, we have started well – we are unbeaten.

“I am quite pleased with the number of points, especially that they all came from good performances.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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