Tony Pulis has explained Alex Pritchard’s lack of match action for West Bromwich Albion by claiming that they have a responsibility to Tottenham Hotspur to manage the youngster’s fitness.
Pritchard joined the Baggies on loan from Spurs on transfer deadline day this winter, but has made only two substitute appearances so far and was unused in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.
The 22-year-old missed the first half of the season with an ankle injury, and was loaned to Albion with the hope that his recovery could be aided by game time, according to the Birmingham Mail.
Pritchard has featured in five matchday squads but only played 53 minutes for West Brom, and Pulis has insisted that he is merely trying to protect the midfielder, in the interest of Tottenham.
“Alex has come in and has tremendous talent,” Pulis is quoted as saying by the Birmingham Mail.
“He was injured at Tottenham for a long time so it’s just making sure and I think Tottenham are concerned we don’t push him too quickly too soon. The last thing they want is the kid to get injured again so it’s just about being patient with Alex as much as anything else.”
“He’s trained well, he’s worked well and he’s desperate to be involved. But sometimes you have to hold them back and we have a responsibility to Tottenham for that.”
The Welshman’s reasoning for not using Pritchard – even more frequently off the bench – seems strange when he considers him to at least be fit enough to regularly make Albion’s matchday squad.
One would have thought that Tottenham would have kept their academy graduate at White Hart Lane if they still had big concerns over his fitness, allowing Mauricio Pochettino to monitor him in training.
A more understandable explanation would be that Pulis is reluctant to throw in Pritchard, who has very limited Premier League experience, while his side are still not safe from relegation.
We might see more of the England U21 international, who scored 12 goals in 45 Championship games for Brentford last season, once his match sharpness improves, and Albion’s top-flight future is secure.
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