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Chris Willock has to be patient under West Brom boss Slaven Bilic

By Joseph Masi | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Slaven Bilic has described Chris Willock as a "top talent" but says the forward will have to wait for a chance in Albion's first-team.

Chris Willock. (AMA)

The 21-year-old moved to The Hawthorns on loan from Benfica in the summer but is yet to make his Baggies debut.

Bilic sees Willock as a player who can play out wide or in the number 10 role – with fans eager to see the new recruit in action.

But in the head coach's 4-2-3-1 system, he is competing with Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips, Filip Krovinovic and Kyle Edwards for a starting spot.

And Bilic admits Willock has been a touch unfortunate that all those players have impressed this season.

"He (Willock) is training with us," the boss said.

"I feel a bit sorry for him because he is a top talent.

"But at the moment in those positions we are not only well covered, but well covered with players who are playing really well and there is not enough space to play all of them.

“We are rotating a few players – five for three positions.

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"But I spoke with him and he has to continue to work hard, play for the under-23s and wait for his chance."

Meanwhile, Bilic has reiterated that Gareth Barry is close to signing his new deal with Albion.

Barry saw his deal at The Hawthorns expire in June but the midfielder has stayed at the club throughout pre-season to recuperate from a knee operation.

Bilic has previously confirmed the former England international will re-sign for the club on a deal until the end of the season when he has proved his fitness.

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"He’s very close, he’s training with us now for a few weeks," the Croatian added.

"He has to play a few games for the U23s, but he looks good.

"He’s Gareth Barry, do you know what I mean? His touch, his vision, his presence on the pitch was always there. It’s top top class.

"He’s a great professional and it’s great to have him here. Hopefully, he’s going to sign very soon. You see straight away what a top player he is."

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

West Bromwich Albion reporter.

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