By West Brom News speaking to Kevin Phillips

25th Dec, 2020 | 12:10pm

Exclusive: Phillips raves about one player who's 'Stood out all season' despite West Brom defeat

We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…

Kevin Phillips admits no one impressed him as West Brom lost 3-0 to Aston Villa on Sunday and claims Sam Johnstone is the “only” player to have stood out all season.

Johnstone, 27, was widely criticised during his two seasons with the Baggies in the Championship but has been one of the most in-form goalkeepers in the Premier League so far this term.

According to stats by Wyscout, no goalkeeper has faced more shots in Europe’s top-five leagues than Johnstone [99] while he also leads the way for the number of saves he’s made [70].

The former Manchester United and Aston Villa goalkeeper has also prevented 4.89 goals this season. Only Burnley’s Nick Pope [5.29] outshines him in that area in the Premier League.

After the 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday, Phillips was asked whether there was anyone who impressed him in Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge.

Unsurprisingly, no one did but the ex-Albion striker did reserve some special praise for Johnstone and added that midfielder Conor Gallagher has also shone at times.

“Who’s stood out all season? There’s only one person and that’s Sam Johnstone,” Phillips told West Brom News.

“Conor Gallagher has had a couple of games where he’s looked lively but you can’t rely on a young kid who’s not vastly experienced in the Premier League.

“It’s a tough one because no one particularly jumped out at me [in the defeat to Villa] that I thought: ‘You can rely on him’.

“Ultimately, it’s those players who got them into the Premier League that have got to step up.

“In January can he get two or three in – maybe four – that can really improve the squad and make a challenge to stay in that league?” 

Johnstone has been amazing for West Brom this season.

Yes, he has still made a couple of mistakes but overall, his shot-stopping ability is unparalleled in the Premier League.

According to start by TheOther14 on Twitter, Johnstone has had to deal with 10 shots from inside the six-year box this season – four more than any other goalkeeper.

It’s a damning indictment on West Brom’s defence that Johnstone has had to face so many shots but Albion would be a in far worse state if they didn’t have their goalkeeper in such good form this term.

In other West Brom news, this Albion loanee has had his temporary contract terminated early.

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