By Joe Ellis

13th May, 2022 | 6:48pm

West Brom Under-23s without Taylor Gardner-Hickman, Steve Madeley reveals why

The West Brom Under-23s take on Wolves’ own youngsters in the Premier League Cup final on Friday night (13 May) without a key player.

Taylor Gardner-Hickman was included in the side for the semi-final against Fulham but the 20-year-old was not named in the squad for the final against the Baggies’ Midlands rivals.

The Athletic reporter Steve Madeley was quick to put fans at ease via his personal Twitter account as he revealed why the Englishman wasn’t playing.

“No Taylor Gardner-Hickman for Albion U23s. As part of the first-team squad, he has already begun his summer break,” Madeley said. “Otherwise, it’s pretty much a full-strength side for Richard Beale and Deon Burton.”

Reyes Cleary was another notable absentee having been the academy’s top scorer this season but he now looks likely to leave the club in the summer with Mo Faal leading the line instead.

Shame

Sure the senior side are jetting off here, there and everywhere on their holidays after a long and arduous season but surely Gardner-Hickman could have stayed for an extra week and helped his fellow youngsters get one over the Wolves?

He wasn’t a regular in the side for the first half of the season and only really burst onto the scene in February when Steve Bruce took over the first team.

So he isn’t going to be as mentally and physically drained as some of the other senior players who have been mainstays in the setup.

Surely he would have loved to play in the final and have the chance to lift silverware with his peers or at the very least get the chance to do so at The Hawthorns, in front of a home crowd.

The only reason we can see as to why he isn’t allowed to play would be another crazy Bruce rule much like him insisting on every player moving closer to the training ground, while he doesn’t himself like the hypocrite he is.

In other West Brom news, Albion are among the biggest underachievers in the Championship when the stats are perused.

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