West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers was back in the West Brom side on Saturday against Manchester United after being left out in recent weeks.
With a midfield three of Jake Livermore, Filip Krovinovic and Conor Gallagher preferred, the St Kitts and Nevis international has had to be happy with a place on the bench. Slaven Bilic remains a fan of the former Brentford man, but was not happy with his performances so far this season.
“We have extra competition, but we need Romaine. We need good Romaine, we need the Romaine who can dominate the games,” Bilic explained last month (via Birmingham Mail).
However, with Livermore absent against United, Sawyers got his chance at Old Trafford and gave a timely reminder of his quality.
Playing the full 90 minutes alongside Gallagher in the middle of midfield, the 29-year-old impressed on and off the ball. Sawyers completed more passes than any other Baggies player, 43, at 90% pass accuracy, while only Kyle Bartley and Conor Townsend touched the ball more often (via WhoScored).
Defensively, he attempted seven tackles, winning four of them, and completed two interceptions (via WhoScored). According to FBRef, he attempted more pressures than any other Baggies player and made three blocks.
Saturday was much more like the Sawyers West Brom fans became used to seeing in the Championship and this gives Bilic a valuable option going forward. The Croatian is yet to settle on a favoured set up, switching between the 5-3-2 and 3-4-3, but with a slightly more winnable run of games approaching, he can perhaps afford to be bold.
Another bonus from the match at Old Trafford was the partnership formed between Sawyers and Gallagher. The 20-year-old was outstanding once again and Sawyers provided a great foil for his aggressive pressing style of play.
Overall, this was much improved from Sawyers and it gives Bilic a nice selection headache ahead of the Baggies next match at The Hawthorns against Sheffield United.
In other West Brom news, Chris Wilder has responded to links between West Brom and a Sheffield Utd player.