West Brom latest news: Rising star can feel 'hard done by' after big Ismael decision

West Brom manager Valerien Ismael on the touchline

The Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield thinks Taylor Gardner-Hickman was unlucky to lose his place in West Brom's starting line-up against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The teenager only made his Championship debut at home to Hull City three days earlier, but he certainly made a positive first impression.

What's the latest news involving Gardner-Hickman?

With Darnell Furlong suspended for the clash with Hull, Gardner-Hickman was drafted into Valerien Ismael's starting XI.

The right wing-back delivered an impressive display, completing two dribbles and making a key pass on his way to a WhoScored rating of 6.88.

West Brom picked up a 1-0 win in that match, and it seemed like Gardner-Hickman could retain his place in the side. However, the 19-year-old was back on the bench on the weekend, as Furlong came back into the team for the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.

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What has Hatfield said about Gardner-Hickman?

Hatfield has acknowledged that Gardner-Hickman caught the eye on his league debut for the Baggies, and suggested that the 19-year-old was harshly dropped by Ismael for West Brom's latest fixture.

He told GIVEMESPORT: “Gardner-Hickman, he got bums off seats when he was playing against Hull. He liked to drive the ball forward, and he was trying to make things happen. That’s not to say that Darnell Furlong wasn’t, but Gardner-Hickman had more success doing it.

“So, I think he can feel a bit hard done by there. He’s put in a performance and he’s not managed to keep the shirt.”

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Should Gardner-Hickman be starting ahead of Furlong?

Based on Gardner-Hickman's display against Hull, he looks to be a fine prospect with a bright future ahead of him. Yet that was just one performance, so fans should not getting too carried away.

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Furlong has been an ever-present in West Brom's starting XI when available this season, and has rarely let the side down, chipping in with three assists in 16 appearances. Therefore, it is understandable that Ismael brought him back in once he had served his suspension.

Still, Gardner-Hickman showed in his recent outing that he is good enough for this level, and he is a more than capable replacement for Furlong. With this in mind, if Furlong does go off the boil at all in the coming weeks, Ismael should have no issue with giving Gardner-Hickman a run in the team to prove that he can deliver the goods on a consistent basis.

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