Steve Bruce to give teenage West Brom talent Caleb Taylor Championship debut against Barnsley
Teenage West Brom defender Caleb Taylor is in line to make his league debut for the club against Barnsley, Steve Bruce has confirmed.
The 19-year-old made his club bow in the Carabao Cup loss to Arsenal early in the season, and also featured in the defeat to Brighton in the FA Cup in January.
But having excelled in captaining the under-23s to the Premier League Cup final, including a goal in the semi-final against Fulham in front of the watching Baggies boss (3 May) he is set to make his first appearance for the first-team manager.
Speaking ahead of the game on Friday (6 May) Bruce said, via the Birmingham Mail: “Caleb, he’ll be involved. He’s done fantastically well, I’m delighted with him.
“I watched him play in the semi-final and he did really well, really delighted for him and delighted for all of them that got through to the final, which is not a bad thing.”
After so long seeing a conveyor belt of young talent leave the club for rivals, fans could be forgiven for not getting their hopes up too high about the potential of the current crop of under-23s.
Reaching a final is always an achievement, and if that is translating into increased chances in the first team then all the more so.
Taylor-Gardner Hickman’s emergence this year has been a rare bright spot, and Zac Ashworth is also likely to feature again.
It may be injuries to Kyle Bartley and Conor Townsend that has opened the door, but anything that demonstrates a pathway from age-group sides to Baggies first team has to be good.
With the club not exactly flush with transfer funds, and in clear need of an overhaul after a poor season, any gems that can be brought through for free would be a major bonus.
There does seem to be an absolute glut of defenders for Bruce to choose from, and he is apparently in the market for more, so unless some move on in the summer it looks like Taylor, Ashworth and company will be part of a crowded house when looking for further chances.
In other West Brom news, Bruce is looking to snap up a pair of the “best free agents” available in the league.
Be sure to follow West Brom News on Facebook for 24/7 updates on the Baggies plus more exclusive interviews with Kevin Phillips.