West Brom head into a crucial run of matches that could determine their future in the Premier League and arguably, tonight’s game is the most important of them all.
They host Sheffield United at the Hawthorns in a bottom-of-the-table crunch match between the only two sides yet to record a victory in the English top-flight.
And Baggies boss Slaven Bilic may still be without some of his key stars. The Croatian remained coy over the availability of skipper Jake Livermore, so if he is indeed absent once again, there is only one name suited to filling the void.
The 22-year-old was another player who tested positive for the virus over the international break, an untimely blow having only just returned from a knee problem, but it appears he is back in training and ready to feature once again.
Aside from Livermore, he is the only out-and-out defensive anchor at Bilic’s disposal – you could even argue that he’s more suited to the role of lynchpin more than the captain himself.
In the Championship last season, Field spent his time on loan at league rivals Charlton Athletic, where he would go onto outperform Livermore, Romaine Sawyers and Rekeem Harper for defensive attributes, as per The Athletic, which you can see in the table below.
No team has leaked more goals than Albion this season, so it would be a fair judgement to argue that they are far too easily bypassed in the engine room, which is why a player of Field’s quality is needed.
He rated out better than Livermore in every facet last term – tackles, blocks, possession won and clearances – and it’s not as if the Baggies talisman has covered himself in glory this term either, scoring an own goal on top of managing just 2.7 fouls per 90 minutes, via WhoScored.
Maybe the 31-year-old’s absence is actually a blessing in disguise.
Pretty much every manager to walk through the door in the Midlands has praised Field, so he ought to get a fair crack sooner rather than later.
Whilst Tony Pulis lauded Field as the best youngster he’s ever seen, he said: “I think he’s going to be a fantastic player for the club. Technically, he’s as good and as gifted as any footballer I’ve seen at that age.”
Even Gary Megson could see it, claiming: “In terms of Sam, I think he’s going to have a great future as a footballer. He’s got a lot of qualities.”
This is absolutely a must-win – a clichéd six-pointer – so the Baggies boss would be a wise man to consider adding Field to the mix. His stability in front of the defence could finally unleash the likes of Conor Gallagher and Matheus Pereira further up the field.
AND in other news, West Brom swoop for “total nightmare” can be Lai’s parting gift…