By George Hartley

30th Dec, 2021 | 7:03am

'Room to improve' for Mowatt, says West Brom boss Valérien Ismaël

West Brom manager Valérien Ismaël has insisted that midfielder Alex Mowatt’s signing was a “massive win” and he can reach “next level”

Mowatt joined West Brom on a free transfer from Barnsley in the summer and has four goal contributions in 18 appearances for the Baggies as they push towards the automatic promotion spots this season.

The 26-year-old was absent from the disappointing defeat against Derby on Monday after testing positive for COVID-19. Despite some excellent showings, Mowatt can get even better, according to his boss.

As quoted by the Shropshire Star, the French coach said: “I think with Alex we are of the same opinion, it (his signing) was a massive win for West Brom.

“He started very strong then, unfortunately, he got injured with his toe. He missed five or six games. I think he has room to improve and we are working on that because we believe Alex can be even more effective for us.

“He knows the principles for how to perform and with the performances you get the respect. I think he has made it perfectly so far. He is a very important player, a key player for us.

“But as I say, Alex is a hungry young player – he wants to get to the next level and that is only possible when you perform.”

Bedding in

Signing Alex Mowatt on a free deal from Barnsley in the summer of 2021 was nothing short of a coup for Albion. The 26-year-old midfielder had great Championship experience, showing signs he could step up to a bigger stage and had also captained his side, exhibiting invaluable leadership qualities.

The Yorkshire-born midfield maestro assisted on his Baggies league debut and managed a goal in his third and fourth league games this season. His 20 goals and 23 assists across his 162 matches as a Barnsley player really show his ability to contribute to further upfield as well as tidy up defensively in a deeper-lying role. This versatility certainly adds a lot to West Brom’s arsenal.

A spell out of the squad across parts of October and November saw his goal contributions fizzle out but Ismaël is correct to push the midfielder and back him to succeed.

It is only a matter of time before Alex Mowatt takes these next steps and he could be a vital cog as the Baggies push towards an ideal automatic promotion.

In other West Brom news, a loanee goalkeeper is growing in confidence in League One.