By Jack Cunningham

7th Dec, 2021 | 6:00am

Valerien Ismael blown away by one West Brom man v Coventry

Valerien Ismael was stunned by Taylor Gardner Hickman’s performance for West Brom on Saturday.

Speaking to the Express & Star about the 19-year-old, the Frenchman explained why tactically Gardner Hickman did well.

With Jake Livermore and Jayson Molumby suspended, the Albion youth prospect was handed a chance to shine, and he was superb.

Ismael said: “You need to understand how I pick my players; it’s all about our principles and what we need in that position.

“What is the profile? The profile for the six position is you need to have brains, you need to have that intensity, you need to cover a lot of distances – both running and with the ball to make sure you have that quality in transition.

“Taylor gave us that confidence, and I think it made a massive difference to have a full week to prepare for the game.

“To train 11 v 11 throughout the week, to see what worked, what didn’t work and to change.

“That is the reason why he put in a great performance.”

Big display from Gardner Hickman.

This was a brilliant all-round performance from a player who usually plays right-back or left-back.

However, he has handed Ismael a problem because Livermore and Molumby are back.

However, can he really justify dropping Gardner Hickman for either of those after this display?

You would have to say that he can’t, and one thing that stood out to us was Alex Mowatt’s display.

The former Barnsley man looked a lot better than he has in recent weeks alongside Gardner Hickman, who seemed to free him up and allow him to start dictating play.

Ultimately, it will come down to training this week, but we really want to see Gardner Hickman in the starting XI again.

He definitely deserves another chance as a midfielder, and surely a lot of Albion fans want to see him play a similar role after he was so good on Saturday.

In other West Brom news, Joseph Masi issues claim on new striker ahead of the January transfer window.

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