West Brom could be about to witness the passing of the baton at some stage this month as the old guard is replaced by a much more youthful breed.
The Baggies’ FA Cup third-round victory over league rivals Charlton Athletic highlighted that Rekeem Harper could still have a future at the club after his performance left fans, reporters and his manager, Slaven Bilic, waxing lyrical.
Watch West Bromwich Albion Videos With StreamFootball.tv Below
But the Croatian’s comments offered up most encouragement after he said: “He was very good, he was very aggressive, very dominant. I was extremely pleased with him. He was a big plus for us and I’m very glad about that. He didn’t make mistakes on the ball, he was very aggressive and he was almost never out of position.”
It was the 19-year-old’s second start of the season and his first significant involvement since a six-minute cameo in the Championship on the opening day of the season, per Transfermarkt.
Harper has somewhat been an outcast since signing a contract extension amid interest from numerous elite teams in the summer, but there’s new hope after this latest outing.
As a result, it strengthens the argument that the long-serving favourite Chris Brunt can depart the club this month as Harper has shown he’s able to step up to the plate when called upon.
The Athletic claim Stoke City are keen on adding the 35-year-old during the transfer window, and it’s a move he will consider as he holds a close relationship with their manager Michael O’Neill after playing under him on the international stage.
Although his experience and versatility can offer the Baggies a lot during what will be a gruelling run-in later in the season, he’s probably only got one last hoorah in him, and he can’t be denied that after 13 years of service.
It’s the dawn of a new decade in the Premier League, but how much do you know about the last 10 years?
Bilic and West Brom can cope without him, just so long as Harper can be trusted on a regular basis – his display at The Valley will have certainly bolstered such claims.