Kevin Phillips discusses young West Brom duo who made bench v Arsenal

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 has tipped Sam Allardyce to have West Brom youngsters Caleb Taylor and Taylor Gardner-Hickman a chance in the first-team in the final few matches of the Premier League season.

Taylor, 18, and Gardner-Hickman, 19, were both named on the bench on Sunday as Albion lost 3-1 to Arsenal and saw their relegation from the Premier League confirmed.

Neither came off the bench but both have impressed at youth level for the Baggies this season.

Taylor is a centre-back who has worn the captain’s armband in the Under-18s Premier League this season. He’s also won a promotion to the Under-23s and played seven times this term in Premier League 2.

Gardner-Hickman is a versatile youngster who’s played 21 times for the Under-23s this season, scored five goals and supplied one assist. According to transfermarkt, the teenager has played on the right and left wings this season, as well as at full-back and in the centre of the midfield.

Both are clearly on the radar of Allardyce after he named them on the bench on Sunday and Phillips claims they could both get a shot in the Premier League before the season is over.

Speaking to West Brom News, Phillips said: “We all want these young kids to have an opportunity and he’s obviously opted to give them a bit of a taste.

“It’ll be interesting now whether one of these kids gets an opportunity in the next couple of games before the season finishes to get a run-out and get a taste [of senior football].

“Sam might put these people in now and not wait until pre-season to take a look at them.

“Hopefully Sam will want to give the youngsters a try next year but to get out of the Championship, you need to get the balance right – you can’t have too many youngsters in there.

“You still need those experienced players that have played at that level. But it is encouraging there are a couple of youngsters on the bench.”

In other West Brom news, this 23-year-old could be released by Albion next month with a Championship move on the cards.

Be sure to follow West Brom News on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on the Baggies and more exclusive interviews with Kevin Phillips.