West Brom quartet who could thrive under new boss Valerian Ismael

Valerien Ismael’s appointment as Albion boss is now imminent.

Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 with Callum Robinson of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)
Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 with Callum Robinson of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

The 45-year-old will arrive at The Hawthorns with a clear playing style that is heavily based on the German philosophy of gegenpressing.

Here we take a look at four players in the Baggies squad who could thrive under the former Bayern Munich defender.

Darnell Furlong

Darnell Furlong of West Bromwich Albion.

Ismael’s success at Barnsley was achieved while playing with wing-backs.

Furlong got better and better last season whether deployed at full-back or wing-back.

And those ever-improving performances in the Premier League will ensure he starts the new season full of confidence.

Furlong also has all the attributes needed to shine under Ismael.

Athletic with a real engine on him, the 25-year-old will have no problem putting in the hard yards his new manager will demand down the right side.

But he will also offer an attacking threat while being sound defensively.

The same is also true on the left side with Conor Townsend, who was also impressive in the Premier League.

Wing-back is sure to be a key area for Albion under Ismael.

Thankfully, they already have two excellent ones in the squad.

Callum Robinson

Callum Robinson of West Bromwich Albion during the pre-match warm up.

While Ismael’s Barnsley side were based on a back three with wing-backs, going forward he liked to mix things up.

The boss tended to switch between 3-4-3, 3-4-1-2 and 3-4-2-1 systems at Oakwell.

And Robinson’s versatility will help him make those changes both before games and during them.

The Republic of Ireland international is more a wideman who likes to cut inside than an out-and-out winger.

He can also play up front and in the number 10 role.

A quality player at Championship level, Robinson should be integral to the side next season in a number of different positions.

Matt Phillips

Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion.

A player who should thrive in a 3-4-3, Phillips – on paper – looks to be an ideal winger for Ismael.

He works hard, is defensively disciplined but he also has quality – both in terms of his crossing and the way he carries the ball.

Naturally a player that suits a direct style, he played his best football at Albion under Tony Pulis.

He also improved significantly when Sam Allardyce replaced Slaven Bilic last season.

Phillips has also tended to start seasons well whenever Albion have been in the Championship – so we can expect him to hit the ground running when the competitive action gets under way in August.

Jake Livermore

Jake Livermore of West Bromwich Albion during the pre-match warm up.

When Livermore reported back for pre-season training at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, he was in outstanding shape.

The skipper changed his training programme to lose some muscle mass and become more lean. And that allowed him to get around the pitch better.

For whatever reason, he didn’t boast the same athleticism when football returned following its suspension due to Covid-19.

And he found the going tough last season – with the former England man barely featuring under Sam Allardyce.

A 3-4-3 formation relies on energetic, box-to-box, midfielders.

Livermore did that job superbly for the majority of the 2019/20 campaign.

Ismael will get him and all Albion’s players in peak physical condition.

And that should give the skipper a real platform to get back to his best.

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