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West Brom blessed to have talent – Bilic

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

SLAVEN BILIC believes Albion are blessed with attacking talent – and that competition for places has been key to their impressive start to the season.

Slaven Bilic

The Baggies travel to take on Fulham today looking to extend their unbeaten run in the Championship to seven matches.

Bilic has favoured a 4-2-3-1 system since taking charge at The Hawthorns with either Charlie Austin or Kenneth Zohore leading the line.

But behind them he has Matt Phillips, Kyle Edwards, Filip Krovinovic, Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana all fighting for a starting spot – with Benfica loanee Chris Willock also an option.

And the boss admitted he is delighted with the forward options he has at his disposal.

“I have a very positive headache,” Bilic said.

“Filip is back in full form, Pereira has gelled really well. Grady also, Charlie also.

“If you add Matt, Kenneth, Kyle, then in that department going forward, you have more players than you can put on the pitch.

“Some of them will be disappointed every week, because it’s impossible for them all to start.

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“But they’re all going to play. I treat them all as regular players.

“We have 22 regular players, but you have 15 or 16 (core players).

“If you have that, you have a good chance to not only make changes from the bench, but to keep the level or raise the level of intensity in games.

“Also it makes players more fit because they know if they don’t train well, they’re going to be on the bench.

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“Or they might not even make the bench.

“That is one of the major reasons why we made a good start.”

Meanwhile, Bilic has confirmed Ahmed Hegazi is closing in on a first-team return, with the head coach believing it is just match sharpness keeping him out his squad.

The defender is yet to play this season due to an ankle injury.

“He (Hegazi) is very close and, of course, we are delighted by that,” Bilic added.

“He’s a major player for us, last year he was voted into the team of the season.

“He’s very close to being back. He had a long break, so he needs a couple of games.

“I expect him to be back before the next international break, but it all depends.

“He’s on 95 per cent he can’t be any better, but that five per cent match fitness is the key at the end of the day and it makes the player ready after a long-ish absence. So far he’s doing amazingly.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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