By West Brom News speaking to Kevin Phillips

16th Jul, 2021 | 12:57pm

Kevin Phillips: Matt Clarke will walk straight into West Brom XI

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 predicts new West Brom signing Matt Clarke will be a starter for Valerien Ismael next season.

Earlier this week, Albion announced the 24-year-old had joined them on a season-long loan from Brighton.

However, West Brom’s centre-back options are already well-stocked with Clarke joining the likes of Semi Ajayi, Dara O’Shea, Kyle Bartley and Cedric Kipre at The Hawthorns.

Despite this, ex-Baggies striker Phillips feels Clarke, who’s spent the last two seasons on loan at Derby, will be in the Black Country club’s starting line-up in the Championship next term.

When asked if he thinks Clarke would walk into Ismael’s first 11, Phillips told West Brom News: “I think he will, yes. That’s what he’s been brought through the door to do.

“I don’t think he’s been signed to sit on the bench so I think he’ll start if I’m being honest.

“Of course, it depends on pre-season and whether he hits the ground running but if he does, he’ll start for me.”

Clarke helped Derby avoid relegation from the Championship last season as he made 44 appearances in all competitions.

He missed just three league matches for the Rams last season and in each of those matches, the East Midlands side suffered defeat.

It remains to be seen who’s spot he will take in the starting line-up if Phillips’ prediction is right.

However, Bartley has been linked with a move away from The Hawthorns this summer.

In other West Brom news, fans should be excited by this young trio who could shine in the Championship next season.

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