Saturday turned out to be a day of comebacks for West Brom with Gareth Barry and Ahmed Hegazi both returning to the first-team fold after lengthy spells out on the injury table.
The return of the duo was another highlight to go amongst many others in what was to be an important win for the Baggies as Charlie Austin’s late penalty secured a 2-1 win for West Brom, and although Barry entered the game as a substitute, Hegazi made it into the starting XI, though the Egyptian international’s comeback performance was nothing to write home about.
As explained in The Express and Star, who gave the 28-year-old centre-back a match rating of 5/10 for this performance on Saturday, Hegazi still looked rusty after such a long period out on the sideline and was nearly at fault for Sheffield Wednesday scoring twice due to two different lapses of concentration.
Indeed, Hegazi’s poor performance also translated onto a statistical level as stats from WhoScored show that the former Al Ahly defender was one of the Baggies worst performing players against the Owls, with the Egyptian international accumulating the joint-lowest ranking out of anyone that featured for West Brom on the weekend.
It is easy to point fingers at Hegazi’s severe lack of first-team football this season as a reason as to why the centre-back was way off the boil against Wednesday, but it could also prove to Slaven Bilic that the 28-year-old defender just isn’t ready for a return to the starting XI.
Hegazi being back from injury and capable of playing in the first-team is already a big step in the Egyptian returning to his previous dominance in the West Brom defence, but rushing him back might be something that Bilic should avoid in doing.
The Egyptian international has proven since arriving at West Brom to be one of the club’s best defenders, yet Hegazi needs to return to full match sharpness before being thrown back straight into the first-team after such a long-spell out on the injury table.