STEVE Clarke admits Markus Rosenberg has every right to be frustrated by his first season in England - but insists he has still played a ‘key part’ in Albion’s success this season.
The Sweden hitman has been limited to two starts and 14 substitute appearances in the Barclays Premier League since his summer arrival from Werder Bremen.
Clarke says that has been mainly due to the impressive form of Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku in what for the majority of the season has been a lone striking role.
And the Baggies boss has praised the Sweden international for his dedication and helping raise the bar in training to bring the best out of his team-mates.
“Markus is very disappointed things haven’t worked out for him so far,” he said.
“He hasn’t had enough minutes on the pitch.
“Some of that can be my fault and he can be unhappy with me.
“He shouldn’t be unhappy with himself.
“He trains every day, he’s a consummate professional and he is well liked in the group.
“Having that type of player in your group is important because not every player can play every minute, not everyone can be a regular in the squad.
“And the make-up of the squad and the dynamic of the squad can be determined by the players who don’t play very much.
“I’ve been fortunate this year that I have a great squad and the players who have not been selected have always trained well, pushed the other players to play to their maximum - and that’s really important.
“I think it’s a key part of why we’ve had such a good season.”
Rosenberg has been playing catch up with his forward rivals all season due to the lateness of his arrival as a free agent in the summer.
But Clarke insists Rosenberg has a proven pedigree in Europe's top divisions and hopes opportunities will arise for him in Albion’s eight remaining games this term.
“The form of others has hindered him,” the Hawthorns chief added.
“Rom and Shane have both had really good seasons.
“The shape of the team and the way the team developed over the early weeks of the season was with one striker.
“Shane and Romelu were in front of Markus for that spot and it made it more difficult for him to get in.
“He also missed the bulk of the pre-season with us so he didn’t get much work with the group through pre-season.
“Really he’s been playing catch-up and, unfortunately for him, he hasn’t managed to get the minutes on the pitch.
“We’ve had a couple of chats throughout the season.
“He’s frustrated with the situation but he understands if people have had the chance before him and have done well then he accepts that’s part and parcel of football.
“It’s been a disappointing season for him.
“But there are still eight games to go and there is a little bit of me hoping in those eight games Markus gets the chance to play and shows everyone what he can do.”