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Robson-Kanu: Chadli was the best but Matt Phillips 'underrated'

Hal Robson-Kanu says Nacer Chadli was the best player he played with at Albion – while he feels Matt Phillips was his most underrated team mate.

Nacer Chadli during his time at West Brom
Nacer Chadli during his time at West Brom

There was a lot of excitement among Baggies supporters when Chadli arrived at The Hawthorns in a £13million deal from Tottenham back in 2016.

But while the winger shone for Belgium during that time, he struggled for fitness while with Albion.

Chadli left for Monaco two years later after Albion were relegated from the Premier League Robson-Kanu, though, was always impressed with the Belgian.

Speaking to the Express & Star’s Baggies Broadcast podcast, the former Albion striker was asked who was the best player and the most underrated player during his time with the club. The Wales international was also asked who his favourite manager was.

On the best player, Robson Kanu said: “I’d probably say the best player was Nacer Chadli.

“He was exceptional but couldn’t get a run injury free.

“He was in a difficult position. The club invested heavily into him.

“He was a big signing. But into that second year we just couldn’t get him fit. When fit, though, he was really good.”

Robson-Kanu said current Baggie Matt Phillips was his most underrated team mate.

“There are quite a few players that I’d say are underrated,” the former Reading man said.

“But I’d probably say Matty Phillips. Every time I went onto the pitch with Matty Phillips, I knew he could change the game.

“He’s commitment and work ethic is phenomenal and real asset to the team and squad.

“He is a star player but isn’t seen as a star player as often as he should be.”

Robson-Kanu said Slaven Bilic was the best manager he had during his time at The Hawthorns.

“Definitely Slaven Bilic,” he continued. “Everything he did for the group and the team. The culture that he installed, the respect he showed us was very unique.”

Meanwhile, Robson-Kanu believes Albion would have had a much better chance of surviving in the Premier League two years ago if fans had been at games.

The Baggies won promotion under Bilic in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. They then played all bar two of their top flight games without fans in stadiums.

“Going into the Premier League, as a newly promoted side, the fans play a significant role,” Robson-Kanu added.

“I remember when we were at home against Chelsea.

“We were 3-0 up and then it was 3-2 with 10 minutes to go and the stadium was empty.

“It’s moments like that when you need the fans to push you over the line. You need that buzz, that excitement going into the Premier League. We didn’t have that, there was no supporters in the stadium so it was very difficult for a a club coming up to build that momentum.

“It was more difficult as a newly promoted team because you need the fans, the fans galvanise you.

“They help build that momentum and get you over the line.”

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