Luke Hatfield has admitted that he was surprised to see West Brom winger Grady Diangana substituted on the weekend against Millwall.
What happened in Saturday’s match?
With the deadlock yet to be broken at half-time after Karlan Grant had his penalty saved by Bartosz Bialkowski, Diangana was replaced by Jordan Hugill.
The 23-year-old watched on from the sidelines in the second half as West Brom went ahead through Kyle Bartley, before Daniel Ballard rescued a point for Millwall.
What did Hatfield say about Diangana being taken off?
Hatfield has revealed that the reaction within the press box to Diangana being substituted was one of shock.
He told GIVEMESPORT: “To see him come off at half-time was pretty much a real surprise for everyone in the press box. Everyone almost looked around at each other and was wondering what was happening. A lot of people assumed he’d picked up some sort of knock but that wasn’t the case.
“Ismael was really keen to get Hugill on the pitch and ultimately saw that Diangana was probably the pick of the players to bring off for some reason. I think if Karlan Grant had maybe scored that penalty, or hadn’t taken it, it may well have been him that was hooked.”
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Is Diangana’s place in the starting XI under threat?
Diangana has started five of the Baggies’ six Championship games so far this season, establishing himself as a first-team regular in the second tier.
However, he has not been directly involved in a goal yet, and Valerien Ismael’s patience may be starting to wear thin with the youngster. This may explain why he opted to take Diangana off at the interval on Saturday.
Still, Hugill failed to make the desired impact off the bench, as West Brom were unable to pick up all three points at the Hawthorns. Indeed, Hugill only received a WhoScored game rating of 6.44, compared to Diangana’s 6.70 for his first half display.
With this in mind, it seems likely that Diangana will retain his starting berth for tonight’s clash with Derby County, but it would not be a major surprise to see him drop to the bench if Ismael wants to send out a message that he expects more from the former England Under-21 international.