With 21 Championship games played so far this season, West Brom have racked up a rather mixed bag of results with 10 wins, seven draws and four defeats under Valerien Ismael, who replaced Sam Allardyce in charge of the Baggies back in June.
During his time in charge of the Midlands club, one big positive from the manager that the fans can be proud of is giving Taylor Gardner-Hickman his chance to shine in the team, which he certainly has done.
Even though the 19-year-old has only played in three Championship games so far this season, his performances in those outings have earned him an overall season rating of 7.08/10 according to WhoScored, making him West Brom’s fifth-highest rated player in the league.
This shows just how well he has done when given the chance alongside the other senior players in Albion’s squad and why former Baggies star Carlton Palmer said it was a “magnificent” decision from Ismael to give Gardner-Hickman his chance to play.
Against the Sky Blues, Gardner-Hickman made three clearances, four interceptions and two tackles and blocked two shots, as well as winning seven ground duels, showing off his defensive capabilities and awareness in midfield.
After making a total of 64 appearances with West Brom’s under-18 and under-23 sides, scoring nine goals and providing eight assists along the way, it’s great to see Gardner-Hickman not only playing in the first team but thriving, a masterstroke for which Ismael should be given a lot of credit as well.
Moving forward, if the teenager keeps making the most out of every opportunity he gets for West Brom from now until the end of the season, he could definitely help them to secure promotion to the Premier League given his versatility and defensive talents, duly ending the campaign as one of the team’s shining lights.