Sam Allardyce has been doing West Brom a disservice in recent matches.
The Baggies are crying out for a defensive midfielder and one is sat there on the bench every week.
It’s easy to forget that Sam Field is one of only two teenagers to score for the Midlands outfit in the Premier League – the other being Romelu Lukaku.
The 22-year-old youth product has missed games through coronavirus and a string of injuries, but is now available for selection and it’s time for him to start against the Cottagers.
Neither Romaine Sawyers nor Jake Livermore can provide an anchorman-like presence. It’s no wonder that Allardyce’s side have leaked 12 more goals than any other team in the Premier League.
And their recent home record under the 66-year-old makes for scary reading. It’s 0 goals scored, 17 conceded. Plenty of fingers can be pointed at the backline, but in reality, they have no protection whatsoever.
The pair rank as Albion’s two worst starters per WhoScored ratings, grading at 6.13 and 6.17, respectively.
When breaking down their individual performances, you’ll soon learn where the problems lie.
Sawyers is dribbled past 1.53 times per 90, which is more than his midfield partner and Field, whilst Livermore concedes more fouls (2.19 per 90) than any member of the Baggies squad, via FBRef.
Both of the duo also struggle to tackle the opposition in the middle of the pitch, successfully stopping a dribbler no more than 38.5% of the time. That compared to Field’s 66.7% is a stark contrast.
Indeed, Field displayed his attributes in the Championship last term.
Even though he was on loan to league rivals Charlton, he outranked every other West Brom midfielder for tackles won (2.06 per 90), blocks (0.46 per 90) and clearances (2.41), per The Athletic.
Despite not featuring for the club in the top-flight since October, the Hawthorns graduate has actually played at this level four more times than Sawyers, and that says a lot considering he’s started 80% of their matches.
It’s baffling that the young defensive midfielder hasn’t started any games under Allardyce so far. It’s even more perplexing when he’s said the following:
“If we can get a good defensive midfield player who can pass the ball as well as intercept and keep the pressure off the back four then we will try to get him.”
Field is a player who was dubbed “the future” and one day a “captain” by ex-Baggies coach Darren Moore. It’s not the only time he’s praised him either, also calling him a “real student of the game” because he’s an “intelligent player.”
Whilst Tony Pulis said similar, once claiming: “Technically, he’s as good and as gifted as any footballer I’ve seen at that age.”
Going into this afternoon’s game, the Baggies are already seven points adrift of safety and a win for the visitors would move them closer to pulling free and Albion much much further away.
Which is why Field’s presence is needed in the engine room. Big Sam cannot afford to witness his midfield get easily bypassed once again. Enough is enough.
This decision could be an immediate game-changer.
AND in other news, Exclusive: West Brom urged to sign Premier League outcast