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English Premier League

Clarke keen to keep Odemwingie, Long

West Brom manager Steve Clarke is determined to keep hold of strikers Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long this summer.

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Odemwingie and Long have both been tipped to leave the Hawthorns with the former having previously stated his desire to play for a bigger club.

However, both players are in the plans of Clarke, who was appointed by the Baggies to what is his first full-time managerial position last month.

"He (Odemwingie) is a top player, a Nigerian international, he scored goals in the Premier League consistently," Clarke told the Sunday Mirror.

"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 revealed he has spoken to most of his new players already, with Ireland forward Long among those he has moved to reassure about their value to the team.

"I have spoken briefly to most of the players and I spoke to Shane," Clarke said. "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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