Slaven Bilic has indicated why Kieran Gibbs was left out of the West Brom matchday squad for Monday’s 0-0 draw against Burnley.
Gibbs has been absent for the Baggies since he was sent off in the 5-2 loss to Everton for swiping at the face of James Rodriguez.
Now, speaking to Birmingham Live, Bilic has suggested that the ex-Arsenal defender has to prove himself in training before he is restored to Albion’s squad.
Bilic said, “With Kieran, of course he is a quality player and I expect him to prove in training like every other guy in the squad and only the performance in training will get players closer to the starting XI or the bench.”
Conor Townsend has filled in for Gibbs in the 31-year-old’s absence and played well against Burnley in Monday’s draw.
He has shown that Bilic doesn’t need to be in a hurry to bring back Gibbs and Townsend’s form could even inspire Gibbs to improve his game now he has some proper competition at left-back.
Townsend was part of a much-improved defence against Burnley as he helped his side register a first clean sheet of the season. Sam Johnstone was also in good form as Branislav Ivanovic made his first Premier League start since 2016.
The Baggies’ problems were at the other end of the pitch this time as new signing Karlan Grant couldn’t get his Albion career off to a goalscoring start and despite dominating, West Brom couldn’t find a winning goal.
Albion’s wait for a first Premier League win of the season goes on with the Baggies taking on Brighton in their next outing. Bilic’s side will have a full week to prepare for the game as they are playing on successive Monday nights.
In other West Brom news, these are the three things we learned from the Baggies’ draw with Burnley.