Sam Allardyce is delighted after West Brom beat Chelsea and he highlighted Kyle Bartley for special praise.
The defender has been ever-present under Big Sam and was given the captain’s armband on Saturday.
Bartley has impressed his manager with his leadership qualities and Big Sam shared his gratitude to have a player like that in the squad.
Appearing on talkSPORT Breakfast, Allardyce said, “[Bartley’s] finally been coming to the age where his experience and quality is standing out for me.
“Strangely enough I had Kyle when he was a schoolboy at Bolton, Arsenal bought him when he was 16, I wasn’t happy with him at the time but they paid a bit of money for him.
“He’s a good talker and a good leader and that’s important because we all know there’s not many of that type around today.”
West Brom defended very well against Chelsea even before Thiago Silva’s red card.
Allardyce has made big defensive improvements with four goals conceded in the last six games, but credit must also go to the players.
Semi Ajayi was terrific against Chelsea and Dara O’Shea has also proved his Premier League quality in recent weeks.
However, it is Bartley who is the common denominator in both players performing well.
He is the organiser at the back and encourages his teammates – it is probably little surprise that Conor Townsend has improved so much by playing alongside Bartley too.
If we go down improvements need to be made but our defence is in a strong position.
Bartley’s influence cannot be underplayed either, and we must recruit players with similar leadership traits to the 29-year-old.
In other West Brom news, Kevin Phillips makes claim that hints at Albion landing a transfer target this summer.