Club News

Nico's one of the lads

Skipper pleased with how Anelka has settled in

CHRIS Brunt insists Nicolas Anelka is not being treated differently to any other player – and claims the former French international would not want it any other way.

The 34-year-old, who has Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal and Paris Saint Germain among his former clubs, netted his first two Albion goals in a 3-0 victory over Puskas FC Academy last night.

The Baggies skipper says he and his team-mates can learn plenty from Anelka – but believes it is important the new signing is viewed as one of the lads.

Anelka completed the club’s traditional initiation ceremony last week – by standing on a chair and rapping in front of his new colleagues – helping to further establish him as a member of the group.  

“With the stuff he has achieved in his career we can learn stuff off him but on the pitch he is your team-mate,” said Brunt.

“You expect him to do his job and he expects you to do yours. 

“That’s just the way it is.

“When you see a name like that coming to your club you want to play with him and see how he does, and you want to ask him questions about where he’s been before.

“Me and Gareth had 15 minutes with him. 

“It was just the three of us in the pool at the hotel the other day and we were chatting about football and talking about where he’d played.

“It’s interesting to learn about other footballing cultures and the places he’s been.

“I have enjoyed playing with him so far in the games.

“He got a couple of goals last night, which will be good for him.”

Brunt hopes his team-mates are now able to continue their positive pre-season progress on home soil. 

“The team looked pretty solid, so it was a good workout,” he added.

“It is difficult to read too much into the games but last night was better than Thursday night, although Thursday night’s opposition were probably a little bit stronger.

“But it’s really about everybody getting fitter and the training the lads do, and making sure everybody gets through it.

“Touch wood, the lads have come through everything pretty strongly this week. 

“We looked quite strong in the games, especially last night.

“In the first half we looked pretty sharp.

“The heat makes a big difference as well.

“60 minutes in that sort of weather is difficult for us because we’re not used to it, so it was a good workout.

“The gaffer seemed pretty happy with everything so it’s back to the UK now to get on with it.”