Club News

Irvine predicts bright future for Samaras

Samaras primed for key Albion role

ALAN Irvine expects Georgios Samaras to become a major force for Albion as the Barclays Premier League season unfolds.

The Greece international has had 108 minutes of game time for Albion - spread over four games - since his August arrival.

The 29-year-old is currently on international duty, playing nine minutes of Greece's 1-1 draw in their Group F Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday. Greece play Northern Ireland tonight.

Baggies head coach Irvine believes the player has a key role to play.

"There is real talent there, the little pass for the fourth goal against Burnley, that's the kind of thing we might see," he said. 

"Somebody who can play that really fine pass that opens the door - but also somebody who can score goals.

"One of the things Neil Lennon said was in the big games in particular for Celtic, he came alive. He played at his best in some of the biggest games, European games in the Champions League, he made a real contribution to Celtic having a good run in those games."

Irvine admitted that the ex-Celtic man is still yet to reach peak fitness.

"It's a shame because he went away for two international matches that he knew he wasn't going to play in from the start and he missed the work the other boys got back here during that period," added Irvine.

"That's frustrating but he is the captain of his country, he's gone away on international duty and he's a really important player to them.

"What I am hoping is he gets some really good match time in these games and that means he comes back closer to where he needs to be.

"I am sure he would be the first to admit he is way off what he is able to be physically."