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West Brom: Caleb Taylor could be Kyle Bartley’s heir

West Bromwich Albion are undoubtedly flying at the moment, with Carlos Corberan having masterminded the most sensational of turnarounds in their Championship season.

Having taken over Steve Bruce’s relegation-threatened outfit, he has since propelled them into the playoff spots and shows no signs of slowing down.

Such is his immense work at the Hawthorns, he has earned reports linking him with a return to Elland Road to take over the vacant Leeds United job.

Baggies fans will be hopeful that the project he continues to build in the Midlands is enough to make him stay, despite the romantic aspect of a return to the club where his mentor Marcelo Bielsa is revered.

The long-term goals held by West Brom will likely rely heavily on the youth setup given their apparent financial troubles, but the wealth of talent they boast could be enough to keep the Spaniard around for a little while longer.

Especially if he looks out on loan at the progress of Caleb Taylor, who is thriving.

Should Taylor be handed some first team chances?





The 20-year-old is currently earning vital senior experience out at Cheltenham Town, where he has played 27 games already this season in League One and earned widespread praise for his dominant displays at the back.

There will surely be a belief around the Hawthorns that upon his return he can be the natural heir to the ageing Kyle Bartley, who still remains a solid option but at 31 years old has seen his powers wane.

Meanwhile, Taylor only improves with each passing season, as outlined in his 7.18 average Sofascore rating.

This is underpinned by a remarkable defensive work rate that few could match, as he records 1.7 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and a mammoth 6.1 clearances per game, per Sofascore.

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West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Bruce

First up on the quiz: after what game was Steve Bruce sacked by West Brom?

For comparison, Bartley this campaign can only muster 0.7 tackles, 0.9 interceptions and 4.9 clearances, also via Sofascore.

Taylor pairs this solidity with a maturity beyond his years, and his leadership traits could again make up for the absence of his talismanic predecessor should he eventually leave.

His U18s coach Peter Gilbert outlined this when praising the young stalwart:

“The players look to him because Caleb is vocal, focused and leads by example with the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch.”

Although losing a figure as influential as Bartley is always tough, Corberan can rest assured that in Taylor he has a more than capable deputy to have players and fans alike quickly forget what they might lose, instead praising what they have gained.