ALBION striker Victor Anichebe is looking forward to being reunited with Alan Irvine when pre-season training gets underway at the start of July.
Anichebe, a product of Everton’s Academy, emerged through the youth ranks at Goodison Park before making his first-team debut in January 2006.
His rise coincided with Irvine’s appointment as assistant manager to David Moyes in 2002, spending five-and-a-half-years as the Toffees’ No.2 before departing to pursue his own managerial ambitions in late 2007.
Anichebe went on to bag 25 goals in 169 appearances before swapping Merseyside for the Midlands last August.
And following Irvine’s appointment as Albion head coach last week, Anichebe has given his thumbs up to the Scot’s arrival and provided an insight into the kind of approach he will bring to The Hawthorns.
“I know Alan really well, he’s the one who brought me through at Everton,” he said.
“He was the one who took a lot of the training sessions with David Moyes when I was younger.
“He was a huge part of what happened when I first came through. Everton were doing really well and he was a huge part of that, he’s a great coach.
“I think Alan will always give us great training sessions and we’ll always know what we need to do out on the pitch. You won’t go out unprepared.
“Alan plays a good style of football as well.
“I know a lot of people at Everton who wouldn’t disagree with me, they will also say he’s a great coach.”
Anichebe added: “The players will enjoy great training sessions, they will enjoy the way he plays and they will enjoy his character as a person, especially the younger players.
“They’re the ones who are going to be the future and we’ve got a few really good, exciting young players. He will give them a chance if they’re up for it and they’re eager.
“I think that’s something Albion fans should look forward to.”
Saido Berahino, 20, finished last season as Albion’s leading goalscorer, Liam O’Neil, 20, made three substitute appearances while Donervorn Daniels, 20, Kemar Roofe, 21, and Adil Nabi
, 20, were on the fringes of first-team action.
Midfielder George Thorne, 21, also returns to Albion having enjoyed a successful season on loan at Derby, who were beaten in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
And Irvine’s desire to give youth a chance is something Anichebe is keen to stress to the club’s emerging contingent.
“As soon as I heard the appointment I said to guys like Donervorn and some of the other younger guys ‘make sure you’re ready pre-season’ because Alan doesn’t care whether you’re a senior pro or who you are,” he said.
“He’ll give the young guys a chance if you’re ready and you’re good enough.
“If they can get a good pre-season under their belts then Alan will have no problem giving them a chance because he sees the quality of young players he has brought through.”