The past month at West Brom has been an absolute whirlwind. The club has gone from sacking Darren Moore and seemingly having no plan of action to now finally settling on a verdict of keeping James Shan until the end of the season.
The caretaker manager has done a steady job since replacing Moore and although there still remain doubts beyond this season, they still remarkably look set for a play-off place.
There has been turmoil off the pitch but on it one player has looked reborn since the sacking of Moore, not least because he’s now playing more football but he seems to be thriving off the responsibility he’s been afforded under new management.
Chris Brunt is the man in question. The Baggies skipper has been a consistent figure down the years and even if West Brom fans think he has too much influence in the dressing room, his performances on the pitch since Shan was given the reins have been phenomenal.
Players basically run the club…
— Andy Davies (@adlolzz) April 2, 2019
Brunt seems to have big opinions everytime there’s change at our club…. Regardless of right and wrong …. Feel like brunt has a huge influence on the going of the dressing room and club.
— James- A T I D (@James84507668) April 2, 2019
Brunt needs to mind his own business ?
— Paul Welland (@iAmWellard) April 3, 2019
Previous comments from the Northern Irishman may have left some West Brom supporters disgruntled but since then, he’s let his performances do the talking and hit back at those who had something to say about him.
Before Shan took over, Brunt’s numbers were incredibly disappointing but he’s had a new lease of life in the five matches he’s played. The only game he didn’t feature in was their horrendous 3-2 defeat against Bristol City where they found themselve 3-0 down after the opening quarter of the match.
That shows just how big a miss he is when he doesn’t play.
At 34, what is most impressive about Brunt is his work rate. He’s been having a huge influence at both ends of the pitch, symbolised in his stats.
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He’s picked up three assists and a goal in the five games he’s played whilst the number of key passes he’s managed in that time is mightily impressive. The highlight of them all was a curling ball from deep against Preston last Saturday, as he rolled back the years with a phenomenal delivery for Dwight Gayle to rifle home.
To put things into context, Brunt managed just three key passes in total in the five games prior to Moore’s dismissal.
He may split opinion, but if he continues to play like he is at the moment, then there is no better man to help lead West Brom through the play-offs.