Club News

Irvine explains selection process

Head coach prepares for hectic schedule

ALAN Irvine has explained how he plans to tackle the busiest few weeks so far of Albion's season.

The Baggies take on Arsenal today (ko 12.45pm) in their final match of November -  the first of nine games they will play in 36 days.

They tackle six games in December, before playing two games in the opening three days of January.

Irvine explained the nuances of picking teams - a process that seems easier in theory than it is in practice.

"As a manager or head coach you try to pick what is your best side," said the head coach. 

"It takes a lot longer than it does when you're not picking a team. In my previous role (at Everton) I found it a lot easier and quicker to pick the team - it can take two minutes when you're picking someone else's team. 

"But when you're picking your own team there are all sorts of circumstances you have to take into account. 

"On Thursday morning last week I was having a conversation with James Morrison on how he's feeling because he'd been unwell. That obviously then has an impact on the choices I make. 

"We were still having those conversations with James on Saturday morning. At that point we decided to put him on the bench, having established the previous day that he wasn't right to start. So that's one example. 

"All the players are training on a daily basis. We saw Chris Baird and Claudio Yacob having to go into a game from the cold at Chelsea. 

"And we are now entering a period of nine games in 36 days where we will need everybody. 

"They will have to be ready and we don't want anyone to sink. 

"We can't experiment in Premier League games. We have to put out the best team we can.

"And we don't just put players in because they haven't had a go yet - we pick people because they are the best players for that particular game in my opinion."

Irvine continued: "I don't know of any manager who doesn't pick the team that he thinks is best for any particular game. 

"So if a player isn't in that team it means the manager hasn't thought he's the right player to go into the team at that particular team. 

"I discuss every position in the team with the coaches. Though I make the final decision we're usually not far from a consensus."