21:05 4th May 2013
Clarke full of praise for 16-year-old Academy starlet after Albion debut
STEVE Clarke hopes Academy starlet Isaiah Brown’s debut in today’s 3-2 defeat by Wigan is the first of many Albion games for him.
The 16-year-old midfielder came on in the 86th minute for Youssouf Mulumbu after making the Baggies’ top-flight bench for the third time since the beginning of March.
He missed out by just under 17 weeks on becoming the youngest player to make a competitive Albion debut.
That honour remains with Charlie ‘Tug’ Wilson, who made his Baggies bow at 16 years and 63 days against Oldham in October 1921.
But it took nothing away from Brown's achievement and Clarke was full of praise for him.
“He’s in the squad because we don’t carry a big squad and he’s in the squad because he’s a talent from our Academy,” he said.
“He’s in the squad because we want to show our Academy that the work they do throughout the year is vital to us – and we want to promote the work they do.
“And if we get a player that’s good enough – and Izzy’s good enough because he trains with us through the week so I know he’s good enough - I’m not sure it’s a risk.
“It’s a credit to the player himself that he has come on so quickly this season.
“I think you saw from the reaction when he came on that supporters love to have home-grown players on the pitch.
“And hopefully it’s the first of many appearances for Izzy Brown for West Bromwich Albion.
“He’s no problem Izzy. We had a good chat this week about his education and how he has to continue that and work more than the senior players to make sure he’s physically capable of handling pre-season with the first-team squad.
“I’ve had some good chats with Izzy and he’s very level-headed.
“I’ve no doubts he won’t fail because of that.”