Martin O’Neill believes Titus Bramble can still become a top-class defender, as he is set to give the former Wigan man his first Premier League start of the season.
With Carlos Cuellar missing due to a hamstring problem the 31 year old will get the opportunity to step up ahead of a tough away fixture at Upton Park.
Bramble was regarded a decade ago as one of England’s best prospects but after a tough spell at Newcastle, the former England under 21 international has become synonymous with defensive errors and somewhat unfairly a joke figure among Premier League fans.
Speaking to the Northern Echo O’Neill said, “Until I got here I didn’t quite realise how much potential he has.
“I remember Sir Bobby Robson speaking about him years ago. Sir Bobby would wax lyrical about this young kid and I can see why. I can see those things with Titus, but his major problem is staying fit. I just hope he can remain injury-free because if he can, not only will he be challenging for a place in the team, he’s very capable of stepping in and making the centre-half position his own.