Club News

Downing: Jan could be Yassine's month

Duo's departure for African Nations Cup could present winger with opportunity

KEITH Downing believes next month could be Yassine El Ghanassy’s chance to kick-start his Albion career.

The 22-year-old winger joined the club on a season-long loan from Belgian outfit Gent in the summer, with an option to make the move permanent.

He has yet to make his Barclays Premier League bow as the coaching staff work on improving the defensive side of his game to meet the demands of the Barclays Premier League.

But, with Peter Odemwingie and Youssouf Mulumbu set to depart for African Nations Cup duty in January, the chances of him seeing top-flight action for Albion will increase.

“Yassine's a young player, coming into a new environment, a different culture, a different way of playing,” said Downing.

“He's adapting to the English way.

“It's not just about attacking but about defensive, positional play.

“He's just learning his game, going through a period of working on what we're telling him to do.

“He's not just someone we've thrown out of the window.

“He's still very young, still learning and adapting.

“He's taking longer to settle but he's learning.

“Yassine is one of those players we don't have many of at the club.

“He has dribbling ability, like a Jerome Thomas, he can commit people, Peter Odemwingie also springs to mind.

“He can draw people out with his individual ability but then it is knowing when to do it and when not to do it.

“That's where Yassine has to learn a little bit more.

“It's something we have to consider when the game opens up and becomes stretched - there are areas he can be used and utilised.

“In January, when people are away, he will be considered.

“He is learning during this first half of the season, watching and seeing how it should be done.

“It's all a learning curve for him.

“You're asking people to come over from a different culture, different countries and a different way of playing and saying 'right, go out there and play'.

“Some adapt quicker than others.”