Gareth Barry has heaped praise on West Brom boss Slaven Bilic for his tactical awareness and game management.
The 39-year-old hung up his boots last season, ending his career with the Baggies under the Croatian’s management.
And the former England international has suggested that there are times when the Albion chief doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
Speaking to the Express and Star, Barry said: “He [Bilic] is a really genuine character.
“When he speaks, everyone listens. He’ll do team talks and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
“He’s that kind of guy. He’s keen on team spirit and keeping everyone together, but tactically he’s very good too.
“Some of his substitutions last season went under the radar. I lost count of the amount of times we went behind but went on to win because of tactical moves he made. He’s a really good manager.”
There are few people as well qualified to speak about Bilic’s management credentials as a player who played under him as recently as last season.
Barry’s been around the block a bit as well, to say the least, and for him to hail the Croatian says a lot about his talent relative to other bosses the ex-midfielder will have played under.
If West Brom are to survive this season, they’re going to need every bit of his considerable nous as well.
Bilic registered a points per game average of 1.43 in the top flight during his time with West Ham, and a similar output this season would give the Baggies a total tally of 54 points.
Last season that would have been enough for a top half finish, but we have a feeling that both he and us supporters would settled for something far less illustrious if it meant staying in the division.
In other West Brom news, Bilic confirmed an injury blow to one of his players after the win against Harrogate.