01:00 24th August 2013
And boss says Gera's enthusiasm has also lifted spirits
STEVE Clarke has described the enthusiasm of new signing Scott Sinclair and Baggies stalwart Zoltan Gera as a ‘breath of fresh air’ in the Baggies camp.
Albion head to Everton today (ko 3pm) with Sinclair chomping at the bit to start the Goodison Park encounter following a frustrating season on the sidelines at Manchester City.
And Clarke admits the 24-year-old winger is on a mission to prove a point, with the carrot of forcing his way into England’s World Cup squad, should they qualify for Brazil 2014.
“I think it’s a big year for him,” said the Albion chief.
“When you’re that age and you’ve had a year without football, I think you have to be focused on the job – and Scott is certainly focused on the job.
“He is so excited to be here.
“I think I could throw him on the pitch today but I’d be a little bit concerned he’d run out of energy after 20 minutes.
“He’s so hyped up to start the game – it’s so refreshing to see.
“I’m genuinely excited because he came in on Thursday and was like a breath of fresh air around the place.
“It was a blow in the morning with the news about Nicolas [Anelka] but then we had Scotty come in the afternoon, buzzing and lifting everyone’s spirits.”
He added: “Scott has to get his career back on track.
“He’s a young player who needs to play.
“It’s a World Cup year so can he be part of the squad – yes, why not?
“If he’s a winger who can create and score goals, why can’t he be part of the England squad that goes to Brazil?
“He’s got a lot to play for this year.
“He’s obviously got great potential otherwise a club like Man City wouldn’t have splashed out the money for him.
“He’s also been at Chelsea, so he’s been at big clubs – but his best spell for playing, scoring and creating was at Swansea.
“So, I think he’s hoping coming to West Bromwich Albion will give him the same platform to do well.
“I think there are some places open in the England squad - there has to be, as a week in football is a long time, never mind six months or a year, for someone to force their way into the plans to go the World Cup.
“For all the young wingers that want to get to Brazil and represent their country, I think there is a great chance for them all."
Meanwhile, Clarke says no-one can wipe the smile of Gera’s face as he prepares to follow fellow long-term knee injury victim George Thorne back into first-team training next week.
“I’ve also got Zoltan Gera, whose almost ready to join the team again next week for training,” he said.
“He’s like a 12-year-old at the moment – he’s so excited about the chance to be back out with the group.
“And to see that is so refreshing.”