West Brom boss Clarke: Great talent in lower divisions

West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke says Premier League clubs should be focusing on lower division talent.

West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke says Premier League clubs should be focusing on lower division talent.

The Baggies have made a record-breaking start in Clarke’s first campaign as a manager helped by trawling the smaller clubs and Europe to find some of their star players.

One of those, central defender Gareth McAuley – who had spent his career in the lower divisions – was signed by then-manager Roy Hodgson from Ipswich 19 months ago.

“McAuley was 33 on Wednesday but if you watch him week-in, week-out, you can see what he brings to the team,” said Clarke.

“He’s a good, honest, old-fashioned centre-back.

“McAuley has got a real hunger because he came into the game late and he has his chance at the top level late.

“It gives hope to players in the lower leagues. Those that have been stuck down there for ages may think there’s not a way up, but there is. McAuley has shown you can do that.

“I am surprised he stayed under the radar for so long when you see how well he has done and how well he has acquitted himself in the Premier League.

“There’s not reluctance on the part of our club to take players like that but maybe there is from other clubs.

“Some of the bigger clubs look elsewhere for their talent, but it is possible they are missing out on a good find from the lower leagues.”

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