Albion hope for Samaras progress
ALAN Irvine believes Greece's loss will be Albion's gain after Georgios Samaras was left out of Claudio Ranieri's forthcoming squad.
Samaras has yet to establish himself as a regular for Albion following his summer Bosman move.
The 29-year-old, who was a major figure for Greece in the summer World Cup, has been left out of their Euro 2016 qualifier with the Faroe Islands and friendly international against Serbia.
Asked why Samaras had struggled to hold down a regular place, Irvine said: "He's not been ready or fit enough. It's the end of October but I've said all along that if you miss pre-seaosn it's difficult to get fit.
"Sammy not only didn't do a pre-season but he had the World Cup which meant he had a rest when everyone else was working.
"He's also been away with the Greece team. Whereas other players we could top up, he was away with the international team preparing for games rather than getting himself ready."
Asked when Samaras would be ready for more frequent outings, Irvine answered: "I'd hope the sooner, the better. But he needs to be at the right level physically because you can't play Premier League football unless you're at the right level.
"It will certainly benefit us (Samaras not being on international duty).
"It will give us the opportunity that we had with the likes of Sebastian Blanco and Silvestre Varela, before he got injured. From our point of view it's a good thing and from Sammy's point of view it will be too, even though he will be bitterly disappointed not to be in the Greece squad."