Clarke keen to keep forward pair

Updated: July 1, 2012
Shane Long

New West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke has vowed to keep star duo Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie.

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Both players have been linked with summer moves with Odemwingie openly keen to test his skills at a Champions League side.

However following a chat with both players, former Liverpool coach Clarke is hopeful of hanging onto the pair.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Clarke said “He’s (Odemwingie) a top player, a Nigerian international, he scored goals in the Premier League consistently,”

There’s no reason to doubt that he’s not a top, top player and I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“His goal record here is really good. He’s the man you look to for the goals. Normally as an opposition coach I would be looking and seeing that Peter Odemwingie has scored again.

“I will come in and work with Peter and over a period of time I will be able to grade him and see where he fits in that sort of level in the table and where he fits as a player.”

Clarke also revealed he has spoken to Long “I have spoken briefly to most of the players and I spoke to Shane,” added Clarke. “He said that he has a difficult first season with a lot of injuries. He’s told me that he’s over that and he feels quite good.

“Unfortunately he’s not had a chance to really play in the Euros, but in a way that might be a good thing that he’s not been pushed and asked too many questions.

“He can now have a nice summer and come back refreshed. It’s quite an appealing prospect and both of them have proved that they are natural goalscorers. If you have two goalscorers who can score goals it’s a big plus.”

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