Club News

Irvine urges Dawson to follow Lescott lead

Irvine: Lescott can be key to Dawson rise

ALAN Irvine believes Craig Dawson can continue his progress by playing Follow The Leader.

The Baggies head coach has been impressed with the contribution of senior centre-half Joleon Lescott, not least his partnership with Dawson.

Irvine feels Lescott's leadership qualities have been a huge factor in Dawson's form this season. Likewise, Irvine also perceives Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley as similar role models for the 24-year-old.

Lescott and Irvine go back a long way, having worked together at Everton when the Scot was assistant to David Moyes.

Speaking about Lescott's qualities, Irvine said: "Joleon is a leader - I knew that already from working with him before and he will have become more of a leader as he’s got older.

"He had those kind of qualities (at Everton) and he does it in a good way because he’s not a ranter and raver or somebody that points at people or grabs them by the scruff of the neck.

“He just has an air of authority about him and the players respect what he’s done in the game so it becomes that bit easier for him to become a leader.

“We’re lucky because we’ve got Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson who are good leaders as well so they all have a physical presence and that respect from the other players.

“They have all got a load of experience and Craig Dawson will learn huge amounts from each of those players.

“Right at this moment he’s getting a chance to learn from Joleon."

The importance of making the right choice, at the right time, is crucial for any centre-half, claims Irvine.

“At certain moments in the game they might have similar decisions to make but make different decisions," he added.

“Centre-backs get better with age and Craig Dawson is a young centre-back and somebody who is willing to learn, desperate to learn and knows he needs to learn and he’s in the right place at the moment to learn, standing next to Joleon."