Date: 6th February 2019 at 7:00am
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West Bromwich Albion and England midfielder Jake Livermore has been speaking about his enforced absence through suspension in recent matches and heaped praise on young Academy duo Sam Field and Rekeem Harper for their efforts in recent times.

Having been a late substitute in the defeat to Middlesbrough to mark his first appearance since the New Year’s Day loss to Blackburn Rovers, Livermore is now back in head coach Darren Moore’s first team thoughts and could make his first start since his return to contention in tonight’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Speaking to yesterday as build-up to the game continued, the 29-year-old explained he was raring to go now and whilst the ban wasn’t ideal, it was well timed.

“Obviously, after any lay-off you have, you’re desperate to get back. But the positives from that is my body needed a rest anyway, I had played a lot of games this season and was putting my body through stress. And it’s fortunately allowed some of the young boys to come in and show what they can do, so as a squad I feel we’re stronger now. Sam and Rekeem have been fantastic. Sam has had a bit more air time over the past few years than Rekeem perhaps, but Rekeem’s gone in and been absolutely fantastic. His physical attributes and his brain for such a young kid, I’m really happy he’s had that platform to go on and show everyone what he can do. As desperate as I am to get back out on the field, and as disappointed as I was to be off it, I think it’s done the team the world of good.”

Mature and fair words from Livermore really and the young lads certainly deserve praise for their efforts as they continue to develop and make their way in the game, and if Moore has been as impressed with them both as it seems, then competition in the midfield areas certainly steps up another gear now.

That should only serve us well in the remaining months of the year as we look for a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.