If James Shan is to stay at West Brom next season then it’s pretty fair to assume that he’ll focus highly on youth.
And rightly so too. The former Baggies U23s manager is a familiar face to a host of the club’s young players coming through and it’s something that could mean Albion’s academy finally flourishes.
A number of players have come and gone with Izzy Brown, Tyler Roberts and Kemar Roofe prime suspects. One they can’t afford to let the same happen to is Sam Field.
The defensive midfielder has been a bit part of numerous teams in the last few seasons and is yet to make more than ten league starts since first making his mark in 2016/17.
But Field saved one of his best performances at senior team level for Reading on Easter Monday, dictating the play and proving to be a calming influence in midfield.
It was a display beyond his years, but despite that, it’s difficult to see him being entrusted during West Brom’s play-off matches.
However, there is a long term future for the 20-year-old.
Gareth Barry has recently been ruled out for the rest of the season and there are no certainties that the former England international will stick around next term, especially considering his contract is also up.
With that in mind, Field’s time could be right around the corner and his stats certainly prove he can fill the void.
It’s easy to compare him to Barry, particularly because both of them are left-footed. But if the latter does decide to hang up his boots or leave altogether, they’ll sit comfortably knowing they can turn to Field, rather than investing in an external replacement.
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He’s incredibly strong in the tackle too and if West Brom get promoted ahead of next season, it’s an attribute that will prove vital. The Baggies haven’t had to do as much defensive work in the Championship but should they go up they’d be playing inside their own half considerably more.
The 6 ft 1 midfielder has proven himself to be a solid squad player. It’s now time for him to make a further step up.