Former West Brom defender Jack Fitzwater has claimed that Slaven Bilic wanted him to stay at the club.

The 22-year-old left the Baggies earlier this summer, making the move to Scottish Premiership side Livingston on a free transfer.

But the Albion academy graduate has suggested that his ex-boss Bilic was keen for him to stick around in the midlands.

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Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “I kind of knew at Christmas time where I wanted to be and I wanted to play men’s football.

“I spoke to the gaffer Slaven Bilic in January and the technical director and they said they wanted me to stay around the club.

“I was training every day and helping the boys prepare for Championship games. I spoke to the gaffer again in mid-June and I said that I really want to go and play games.

“He said he wanted me to stay, but he said if I wanted to play then he was happy for me to leave so I could do that. Once the Livingston deal came about I asked West Brom if I could stop training and come up and have a meeting, and once I was up it was done within a week.”

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Even if Bilic did want Fitzwater to stay, it was surely time for him to go.

At the age of 22, to have just one first team appearance to your name is a serious red flag, and if Fitzwater couldn’t break into the senior picture in the Championship, you would imagine that his chances will have been somewhat diminished by the Baggies’ promotion.

Moving to Livingston should guarantee the defender plenty of game time, and given his age, that has to be his priority right now.

In other West Brom news, in another exclusive story by this site, the Baggies have opened talks over a new contract for this attacker.

Be sure to follow West Brom News on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on the Baggies and more exclusive interviews with Kevin Phillips.

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