Club News

Pocognoli hails Albion ahead of international return

Super Seb ready for Belgium comeback

SEBASTIEN Pocognoli believes his recall to the Belgium national side has justified his decision to move to the Barclays Premier League and buy into Albion’s 2014/15 rebuilding plans.

The Albion left-back has been in sparkling form since his summer move from Hannover 96.

Last season ended on a disappointing note for the 27-year-old after a back injury ruined his chances of playing for Belgium in the World Cup.

Pocognoli was forced to watch his nation’s games on TV after failing to make the final cut after playing just a handful of games in the second-half of the German Bundesliga season.

But the player is back in the international fold after being called up for Belgium’s Euro 2016 Group B qualifiers against Andorra and Bosnia & Herzegovina, to be played on Friday, October 10 and Monday, October 13, respectively.

Pocognoli believes he made the right call to leave behind the German top flight for the English equivalent.

He said: “It’s good news to be called up, especially after missing the World Cup. 

“I’m happy after the way the season has started for me here.

“To start well was very important for me. Playing every game for West Bromwich Albion was important. Each game is shown on Belgian TV so they will see our games. If I am picked for the national team then it’ll be because I’m getting good reports.”

Pocognoli added: “The Bundesliga was good but for me the feeling was that the Premier League would be ideal for me because of the way I play and the qualities I have. 

“I am enjoying my time here. I had a good feeling because I felt this would be a new project, with new players and a new head coach. I knew the plans they had and I thought it would be a good move for me.

“For me it was easy because I came to the team early, I was one of the first players to arrive. I had to work hard in America because my fitness wasn’t good after my injury last season. I came back slowly but I got stronger with each game and knew I’d be ready for the new season.”

Speaking about missing out on the World Cup, he continued:  “My last game for Belgium was against Ivory Coast, before the World Cup. I was named in the 26 but didn’t make the final 23. I had a good start to last season. The first half of the season was good, I played many games and I was in the first XI. 

“And then in the second half of the season I played about seven games but the injury set me back. I didn’t play from March to May because I had a back muscle problem. I was ready to go to the World Cup but it was no problem for me (not to go). I took it well, I knew I was strong and that I’d get my chance again. “