By Danny Wright

14th Mar, 2020 | 2:25pm

Darren Bent 'shocked' West Brom managed to keep hold of attacker after January

Ex-Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is “shocked” that West Brom managed to stop West Ham from recalling Grady Diangana in January.

Since joining the Baggies on a season-long loan in the summer, the 21-year-old winger has scored five goals and supplied six assists in 21 Championship appearances.

He played a key role in Albion’s strong form at the top of the second-tier before multiple injury issues around the festive period and at the start of 2020 scuppered his campaign.

Diangana has now played in just three of West Brom’s last 17 Championship fixtures but he is on the mend and returned to first-team training earlier this week.

West Ham reportedly had the option to recall Diangana in January but opted against it, even though they have struggled in the Premier League and the England Under-21 international has been on fire in the league below.

Bent believes that he could have made a difference at the London Stadium.

“I was shocked when they didn’t call him back in January, because I was convinced they were going to bring him back from West Brom and kind of kill them a little bit – like Leicester did with Harvey Barnes last year,” Bent told Football Insider.

“He’s exciting, he’s young, you’ve got to give him an opportunity.

“I’m really excited to see what he can do because I think he can do big things in this league.”

If West Ham recalled Diangana in January then they still wouldn’t have had him playing for them due to his hamstring injury issues.

There were reports in January that West Brom were going to offer the Hammers money to keep hold of Diangana for the rest of the season but the real reason why the winger wasn’t recalled isn’t exactly clear.

There could be a number of reasons why he stayed. Firstly, he might have wanted to. Why would Diangana want to quit playing for Slaven Bilic at the top of the Championship to join David Moyes at a relegation-threatened side?

Secondly, he is developing well at West Brom. Why disrupt that?

And finally, there could have been financial reasons, which would all make it make sense.

In other West Brom news, an Albion academy staff member has quit his role at the club.