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West Brom's Adam Reach a key man on and off pitch insists Steve Bruce

Adam Reach is a key player for Albion both on and off the pitch, manager Steve Bruce has declared.

Adam Reach of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Barnsley at The Hawthorns on May 7, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Adam Reach of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 2-0 during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Barnsley at The Hawthorns on May 7, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The 29-year-old, who joined the Baggies on a free transfer last summer, made 23 starts and 13 substitute appearances in his first season at The Hawthorns.

Reach’s versatility led to him playing in a number of different roles for the Baggies.

The former Sheffield Wednesday man impressed on the wing, at wing-back and at centre-back in a match against Reading.

But despite always giving his all, Reach came in for some strong criticism from supporters when played out of position as an attacking central midfielder.

The Gateshead-born star, though, ended the season on a high by netting a last-minute equaliser at Bristol City before then scoring a stunning lob in the final day win over Barnsley.

And Bruce has tipped Reach – who is also managed at Wednesday – to be an important player for the Baggies next year.

“There’s not many with the ability on the pitch to score a goal like that,” Bruce said when asked about Reach’s goal against Barnsley. “Off-balance, the run through and the execution was excellent.”

“Adam Reach is a really, really top class pro.

“He’s a really good lad to have in your dressing room, he can play a few positions.

“You never have a problem with someone like Adam Reach.

“And on top of that he’s got good ability.”

It was Bruce who played Reach as an attacking central midfielder against Sheffield United, Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Swansea.

Albion failed to win any of those matches.

And the boss admits Reach is a wide player.

“I played him (Reach) wide right at Sheffield Wednesday,” Bruce continued. “Against Barnsley he played wide left. He’s a wide player.

“Is he a wing-back? Possibly.

“But we have got good players in wide areas with Reach, (Grady) Diangana and (Matt) Phillips.

“It’s something to build on.”

Meanwhile, Tottenham are leading the race to sign Albion keeper Sam Johnstone, according to reports. The England international has decided to run down his contract at The Hawthorns and leave on a free transfer.

Manchester United, Southampton and West Ham have all been linked with a move for Johnstone.

But Spurs are now reportedly set to win the race.

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