Sunday 20 October 2019

Clarke: I have done all I can

Peter Odemwingie almost left West Brom in January
Peter Odemwingie almost left West Brom in January

Steve Clarke will not confirm troublesome striker Peter Odemwingie will leave West Brom after four months of turmoil but admits: "I've done as much as I can to put up with it."

A long-running saga was reignited this week when the outspoken Nigerian gave an unauthorised interview to a local newspaper re-emphasising his grievances with the club and his desire to leave. The issue has been the biggest headache of Clarke's first season in charge of Albion, a campaign which has seen them occupy the top half of the Barclays Premier League.

Odemwingie looks destined to move on this summer after relations broke down following his failed bid to force a move to QPR in January and a series of ill-advised Twitter outbursts. Clarke has kept Odemwingie involved in the squad despite the ongoing soap opera and said: "I've stuck by him because he's talented."

Clarke added: "He's a talented player and I need as many talented players as I've got in my squad.

"I think over the last four months I've done as much I can to put up with it. The situation will be resolved in the summer and I really hope that's the last time we speak of it because the situation should be resolved in the summer.

"I don't know (if he has to go). I'm the head coach and I'll deal with the players I've got next season but for now, let's try to move on from it."

Clarke again sought to play down suggestions the latest interview, which saw the 31-year-old striker tell the Birmingham Mail he is "90 per cent sure that it's best for me to leave" after underlining his complaints about the club and the supporters who are now on his back, was another sensational outburst.

"I didn't think it was 'sensational'," he said. "I just read it quickly before this press conference and I didn't see anything in the article that he hasn't told me over the last few months anyway.

"To be honest over the last four months he hasn't really played for my side. He's been in and around the place but his contribution since January has been very, very little.

"The disappointment for me is that before January, when he was fit and available, I think he played over 70 per cent of the games, produced good performances and scored goals. And in the second half of the season I haven't had that player, so that's the disappointing thing for me as a coach."

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