West Brom starlets to get chance to sparkle against Arsenal

Valerien Ismael says he is ready to give youth a chance as Albion host Arsenal in the Carabao Cup.

West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael (PA)
West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael (PA)

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners come to The Hawthorns tonight desperate for a win after a dismal start to their Premier League season.

The Baggies, conversely, have shone so far in the Championship and with the league being their man focus, Ismael is happy to make changes for this second round tie.

“Our priority is clear – that’s the Championship,” he said.

“The League Cup is an official competition, it will give us the possibility to give players who haven’t played a lot to play, to make sure they come onto the next XI like the others, and for the young players to show up.

“We need to have an overview of the squad, the best way is to see the players in competition.

“This is a new competition, and a new chance to see the young players on that level against a top side.

“It doesn’t change anything for us, from minute one we want to see our principle, our intensity, and this is the message for the game – it doesn’t matter who is on the pitch, we want the West Brom identity.”

Ismael hinted at a start for Rayhaan Tulloch tonight while the likes of Quevin Castro, Ethan Ingram and Caleb Taylor may also be involved.

Centre-half Matt Clarke will not be involved as he is out for around six weeks with a hamstring issue, while two unnamed players have tested positive for Covid-19.

Arsenal, meanwhile, are expected to go strong with Martin Odegaard in line to feature after his permanent signing from Real Madrid.

“Arsenal is a top team, we are early into the season so I never judge the last result,” said Ismael.

“It’s all about the next game. When you know in football that everything is possible in the two directions – just stay focused on your game, focus on your job, what you have to do. It’ll be tough for sure, but it’s all about our principle.

“It’s important we show our identity, even when we play with other players, it doesn’t matter.

“We need to give that feeling that everyone is important.

“We need to make sure they’re all playing on the same level. They need, for sure, minutes and it’s a big chance for us to put all the players on the same level.”

On facing the Gunners, Ismael added: “It’s all about the performance, before we were talking about results, but Arsenal is all about the performance.

“We know if we put in the performance, we’ll win more games than we lose. This is the first thing we’re looking for on the pitch – it’s also important that our fans have an overview of the squad.

“We have really good young players at the club, they need to show up and we need to show them in real conditions, a real game against a big club, to see exactly what they are able to perform.

“This is the two things for the game – focus on ourselves and give the chances for the young players to show up.”

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