STEVE Clarke is relishing the prospect of working with Romelu Lukaku for the remainder of the season, insisting: “He's a dream for a coach.”
It was confirmed this week the on-loan Chelsea striker will remain at The Hawthorns until the end of the season.
And Clarke says the ‘frightening’ prospect for defenders is the Baggies’ seven-goal top scorer in the Barclays Premier League has even more to come.
“I’m delighted that he’s here for the second half of the season and we will try to improve his performances in the second half from what they were in the first,” said the Albion boss.
“It’s logical that there would be a big improvement because last year he played very few minutes of first-team football for Chelsea whereas this year he’s played a lot of minutes.
“The more he plays, the better he will get.
“He’s only 19, don’t forget.
“People look at him and think he’s a man but he’s only 19 and he’s got a lot of developing to do.
“As he plays and improves and works on his game on the training pitch the only thing he can do is improve and that’s a frightening thought for defenders, I’d imagine.
“His head is in the right place. He understands what he wants to do and where he wants to be and he knows he’s got to work hard to get there.
“All those ingredients and lots of talent mean he’s a dream for a coach.
“He came here to get experience and minutes in the Premier League so I knew he would stay here with us, because he will get more minutes with us than with Chelsea.
“He came here to learn his trade. I think Chelsea and Romelu appreciate the fact he’s doing it here.”
Clarke has also praised the professionalism and patience of England Under-21s star Craig Dawson, who has been restricted to one start and two substitute appearances in cup competitions for the Baggies this season.
And, although the Albion chief would like to send him out on loan, he insists the former Rochdale centre-half has a 'big future' at The Hawthorns.
“Craig is a top prospect and a top talent,” he added.
“He’s been really unfortunate that [Jonas] Olsson and [Gareth] McAuley have been outstanding and the back-up, Gabi Tamas, has also been outstanding when he’s played.
“He’s found his chances very limited.
“At some stage between now and the end of the season, if he doesn’t get in the team here and Jonas, Gareth and Gabi are okay, I would like Craig to go out and get some games.
“It would be temporary, for sure, because he’s got a big future in the game.
“He’s a dream for a coach.
“He’s the ultimate professional who comes in every day and works ever so hard.
“He’s probably got reason to knock my door once a month and ask what’s happening - but he doesn’t do that.
“He just comes in and works extremely hard every day in training.
“I see an improvement in him from when I came here in the summer to now, and now he needs to go out and get some match time.
“Given the right circumstances we will look to do that.”