Bilic has to make Edwards a fundamental part of West Brom

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

A topic of heated debate surrounding the Hawthorns in recent times has been the club’s academy.

Fans have been forced to see Rekeem Harper become a free agent after his contract expired, despite it appearing as though he was close to signing new terms.

And with the thought of young players leaving still fresh in the mind, one of the club’s academy graduates has offered a statement ahead of a season in which he seems determined to impress.

On the chalkboard

Earlier this week, Kyle Edwards spoke out ahead of pre-season. In an interview with West Brom’s website, he declared: “If I can impress straight away then hopefully I can have a run in the team.”

The 21-year-old also commented: “My target for the new season is to break into the team a lot more and start more games.”

And on that note, it would seem rather foolish if new manager Slaven Bilic didn’t give him a chance.

Last term, Darren Moore afforded game time to six academy players. Harper played the most minutesĀ of all of them (1,743) but with the midfielder now currently not on Albion’s books, Edwards could become one of the pillars of the team.

Why? Because he’s got the energy and drive to succeed. His recent comments suggest he’s willing to work hard to put his name in the hat for selection and there’s now a real opportunity for him given the lack of wide players in the Baggies’ squad.

But he also possesses qualities on the field that would make his selection a no-brainer.

In 2018/19, he ended the season with the highest number of successful dribbles per game in the entire side, making two per match.

His best game came against Brentford, netting a goal and also completing a rather impressive five dribbles.

It was evidence of the fabulous talent he possesses but there was only six occasions in the Championship where he got the chance to display this.

In total he played 11 times in all competitions last season, a number that simply has to increase under Bilic.

Watch fans explain why the Football League is better than the Premier League in the video below…

The only genuine wide options he has available to him at the moment are Oliver Burke, Matt Phillips and Jonathan Leko.

West Brom fans have voiced their concerns over the latter so it would be timely if Edwards now gets his chance.

Mark Jenkins has revealed West Brom have a competitive budget, but by increasing the faith in their young 5 foot 8 winger, it could save them some funds.

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