Irvine sure Anichebe will be ‘big player’ for the Baggies

Irvine sure Anichebe will be ‘big player’ for the Baggies
August 21
12:01 2014

West Brom manager, Alan Irvine, has claimed that the goals will come for Victor Anichebe and has backed the striker to overcome self-doubt.

Anichebe is well-known to Irvine, having come through the ranks while the Scot was number-two to David Moyes at Goodison, and he admits the Nigerian is anxious about his lack of goals for the club to date. The former Everton hit-man scored just three times last season, following his £6million move from Goodison Park.

The Baggies head coach was impressed by the 26-year-old’s all-round performance against Sunderland last weekend, though he claims the player was still dwelling on a miss during the second half, when he dragged the ball past Valentin Roberge only to scuff his shot wide.

“I think he will score – I really do,” Irvine told Birmingham Mail.

“But I think there is an anxiety. He was so upset about the one where he has rolled their lad and pulled it past the post and then he was in afterwards and looking at the clips and thinking ‘how have I done that’?

“But he had got himself into that position and I thought he was really good for us at the weekend. I think people are noticing his work-rate and the tireless stuff he is doing for the team, and his attitude. I have been really pleased with him in pre-season and I think he is going to be a big player for us, quite literally.”

The head coach believes the striker’s 6ft 3in frame can add a different dimension to Albion’s front-line.

“I think we miss him when he is not there because he has the physical presence that you often need,” added Irvine. “It is more difficult for someone like Saido (Berahino) or probably someone like Brown (Ideye) to play with their back to goal on their own and having to hold the ball up to bring other people into play.

“It sticks and other people can go and play off him and that is an option which you need to have. It is not something where you want to say we are shelling it up to the centre-forward all the time and he is going to need to keep hold of it. But you need to have that threat and the opportunity to do that.”

The Beijing 2008 summer Olympics silver medal winner with Nigeria suffered with injuries last season, and Irvine blames it on his physical approach to the game.

“He plays in a physical way so there is a lot of contact going on and there is a lot of trying to fight people so there is more risk of him getting injuries and maybe not the ones you would get in a player who is running freely and pulls a hamstring or something like that,” he said.

West Brom will travel to St. Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton in their next league game this weekend.


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