Romaine Sawyers has claimed that West Brom manager Slaven Bilic has total respect from the entire dressing room at The Hawthorns.
The Croatian led the Baggies back to the Premier League this season after securing a second-placed finish in the Championship.
And Sawyers has heaped praise on the boss for his natural leadership qualities, as well as giving an insight into his personable management style, including his unorthodox greeting when the two met for the first time.
Speaking to the Express and Star, he said: “With everything he [Bilic] has achieved in football, the respect is already there.
“When he talks you listen and I think everyone will vouch for that in the dressing room.
“I first got a call from him and he said I want you to come and play for me – how do you feel about that? He knew the ties I had with the club, but I don’t think he knew how deep they ran. So when he said that it was music to my ears.
“Then when I first met him, most people when you meet them you shake hands. But he hugged me. And from there we have had a relationship where we speak as good as daily.”
This is a brilliant piece of insight from Sawyers that really gives us fans an idea of the togetherness and unity in the Albion camp right now.
Bilic has come in and lifted this entire squad, and while there have been sticky patches this season – not least including a couple of shaky results after the restart – there can be no denying that the Baggies deserved to be promoted.
And what’s really refreshing about Bilic is that it’s obvious that he is as enamoured with his players as they are with him.
Take his recent comments about youngster Callum Morton.
This is a 20-year-old who is yet to make a senior appearance for the club, and yet Bilic is talking him up as being “made of steel” and having “something special”.
That is surely the sign of a manager who cares deeply about his players, and whose diligence can be a real asset to the club as we get ready to take on the top flight.