West Brom players prepare to meet Valerien Ismael

Albion’s players will meet new boss Valerien Ismael when they report for pre-season training on Thursday, the Express & Star understands.

Valerien Ismael
Valerien Ismael

Ismael was confirmed as the Baggies’ new head coach last week after the club agreed to pay £2million to release him from his contract at Barnsley.

It is understood the French-born 45-year-old, who has German citizenship, returned to Germany after his Tykes side were beaten in the play-offs last season.

That means, under the government’s coronavirus guidelines, Ismael has had to self-isolate upon his return to the UK.

But his isolation period will be up by Thursday – with the boss informing the players that will be the first day of pre-season training.

It is understood all Albion’s squad will report to their Walsall training base today to undergo coronavirus tests.

Those results will then come through tomorrow.

And all players who post a negative test result will then officially begin pre-season training on Thursday.

A manager who is notorious for playing with a high pressing style, Ismael is highly likely to spend the next few weeks getting his players in peak physical condition.

As it stands, though, the former Bayern Munich defender is still working to finalise his backroom team.

Albion’s former head of performance Nick Davies left the club by mutual consent last week.

And it is understood Ismael is hoping to add at least two more coaches to his staff to support him and club legend James Morrison.

Meanwhile, Rekeem Harper has thanked Albion for the role the club played in his development following his move to Ipswich.

The midfielder joined the Baggies at the age of 12 and in total made 39 first-team appearances.

“My time at West Brom was very good and I’m thankful to all the staff for everything they have done for me,” he said.

“They have me my start in professional football. I had a great time there.

“I wish them all the best for the future.

“Now it’s time for me to go in a different direction but hopefully I will see them soon.”

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