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Erik Pieters looking upwards after earning West Brom deal

New boy Erik Pieters is eager to help Albion climb the Championship table after finally signing a deal at the club.

Erik Pieters  (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Erik Pieters (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Pieters, a free agent after being released by Burnley, had been training with the Baggies for six weeks before eventually agreeing a one-year contract.

The 34-year-old defender then made his debut in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Norwich and is keen to kick on further after the international break.

He said: “I just want to play games, be of value for the team on and off the pitch.

“I think with the experience I have I can help the team. I’m really pleased with the result at Norwich even though we could have nicked a win. Besides that, it’s a step forward.”

Albion return to action when they host Swansea on Saturday week and Pieters added: “We know what to do now but unfortunately there’s a break, we want to play again and again. We showed what we’ve got and what we’re made of.”

Pieters, who made more than 250 Premier League appearances in spells at Stoke and Burnley, found himself without a club during the summer and initially joined the Baggies in order to maintain fitness levels. Albion’s need for defensive reinforcements then increased when Semi Ajayi suffered an ankle injury and boss Steve Bruce believes the versatility of Pieters, who can play at left-back or in the centre of defence, can be an asset.

Pieters said: “I was really pleased they (Albion) let me train with them.

“It meant I stayed on top of my fitness. Of course I did a lot at home, so that helped, but as everyone knows it’s different training at home than with the other lads.

“I was really pleased and at one point they came and offered me a deal. It was a no-brainer for me to sign and be here for another year.

“You have to deserve (a contract). At one point you’re training at home and it gets longer and longer. I spoke to my agent and said ‘I need to find a club where I can train’.

“Just to be out of the house and play 11 v 11, five-a-side, it’s totally different.

“West Brom came and I did my best there, showed what I’ve got and they said we really want to have you and we went from there.”

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