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How Matt Phillips has managed to reach his potential at West Brom

Saturday 28th January 2017
When Matt Phillips joined West Brom in the summer from Queens Park Rangers, there would not have been many who would have suggested that he could sneak into the Premier League team of the season for 2016/17.

However, at present, the 25-year-old's performances for the Baggies are undoubtedly worthy of a least a nomination within the Team of the Year; so far.
Phillips started his career at Wycombe Wanderers where he made his debut for the first-team, aged just seventeen during the 2007/08 season.

The following campaign saw Phillips win the club's “Young Player of the Year” award as well as, the League Two “Apprentice of the Year” as the Chairboys gained promotion to League One.

A full-season in England's third division followed, but his five goals in 36 games were not enough to keep Wycombe up as they were relegated straight back down into League Two.

Phillips' form, however, inspired Ian Holloway to bring the winger who is comfortable on either the left or right flank, to Blackpool, who had just got promoted to the Premier League for the 2010/11 season.

Aged 19, Phillips earned his first-team debut at home to Blackburn Rovers as a substitute, making an immediate impact by scoring his first Premier League goal moments later.

After relegation to the Championship, Phillips was now a regular within the Seasiders' first eleven during the 2011/12 campaign following a successful loan spell with Sheffield United in League One - where he notched five goals in six league matches.  His performances for Holloway's men that season saw him feature within the PFA ‘Team of the Year'.

Following another season with Blackpool in the Championship, Phillips earned a move to QPR, helping them reach the Premier League for the 2014/15 season under the management of Harry Redknapp.

The Scotland International featured 25 times that campaign, finding the net on three occasions but the R's suffered an immediate return to the second tier of English football.

Eight goals in 44 matches during the 2015/16 season was enough for Tony Pulis and West Bromich Albion to express interest in the England-born winger.

Despite his capability of finding the net and uneasing full-backs with his pace and trickery, Phillips had a knack of struggling to produce the right final pass.

The Baggies endured a rather disappointing campaign prior to Phillips' arrival, finishing 14th, only six points above Newcastle who were relegated.

The other disappointment was the lack of goals that Pulis' side had produced that campaign with 34 strikes, only beaten by bottom-placed Aston Villa with 27.

West Brom knew that had to sign players to get the crowd to their feet. Pulis was no doubt aware of Phillips' unpredictability but his creativity and willingness to attack down the wing meant his arrival was a welcomed one at the Hawthorns.

With the added bonus of Nacer Chadli arriving from Tottenham, the Baggies have already netted 30 times this campaign, with Phillips contributing four goals plus a highly impressive tally of nine assists.

With Phillips' help, West Brom has definitely been the unsung team of this season, currently sitting in eighth. If he can continue his form already shown this campaign, there's no reason why he will not be in with a shout of being in the PFA “Team of the Year” for this term.
Greg Stubley
Greg graduated with a first in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton in Summer 2016 and has already managed to gain experience in the industry, working for companies such as Charlton Athletic and talkSPORT. Greg is currently the regular commentator on Charlton's "CAFCPlayerHD" service, bringing full-match live commentary along with Terry Smith of Addicks' games up and down the country for subscribers to listen.

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