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Competition key for Darnell & the Baggies

12 September 2019

Darnell Furlong admits no player is guaranteed a place in Albion’s starting XI with competition for a spot in Slaven Bilić’s team-sheet rumbling throughout the international break.

The summer recruit from Queens Park Rangers himself had to be patient after Academy product Nathan Ferguson impressed at right-back in the early stages of the campaign.
 
It’s a similar story in other areas of the pitch and Darnell believes it is a quandary that will benefit the Baggies as the season progresses. 
 
“Competition is always good for the squad, for the morale of the squad. No-one thinks they’re playing every game which I’ve seen in the past,” said the 23-year-old.
 
“Players can become a little bit relaxed in how they do things, so it’s good competition and it’s the best thing for the football club.
 
“Nathan’s very good and I didn’t know he was 18 when I came in. He’s fitted into the group very well and I think he only came in this season. 
 
“It’s been a nice welcoming group to come into and we’ve started off with a few good results as well so it was nice to go into the international break unbeaten. We’re looking forward to carrying that on.
 
“As I said, there’s good competition everywhere and we’re just enjoying trying to play.
 
“It’s really nice playing here and we play an attractive style of football which is nice to be involved in. It’s different to what we’ve been involved in before. I’ve played different styles with different managers and this is one that I’m really enjoying.”
 
The Baggies have trained throughout the international break with Bilić and his coaching staff continuing to fine-tune those players not representing their nations.
 
Furlong hopes Albion can extend their unbeaten start to the season to seven games but admits Saturday’s test at Fulham represents the toughest challenge to date. 
 
He added: “It’s a great game to get us going again and we just have to make sure we’re ready for it. I think it could be our toughest test so far, especially as it’s away from home. They were a Premier League side last season so it’s going to be a difficult game. 
 
“There’s confidence in the group but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. There’s no arrogance in training or in games or anything. 
 
“We’ve worked hard for the results we’ve got and it’s nice that we’re unbeaten. We’ll lose at some point but hopefully that happens further down the line.” 

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