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Clarke happy to exlude internationals

West Bromwich Albion's unbeaten start to the season will put Steve Clarke's man-management skills to the test with a growing number international stars left frustrated on the bench.

Leading Premier League goal scorer Peter Odemwingie, Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt, Hungary's Zoltan Gera and Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg have all been left out of the first XI.

And they could all be disappointed again as Clarke prepares to name an unchanged side for the third successive Premier League game when West Brom visit Fulham on Saturday.

Clarke has never had to deal with unhappy players during his many years as coach, but the rookie manager has no doubts he will handle any problems.

"Nobody has been banging on my door yet, so it's so far, so good," said Clarke.

"If the team is performing well and getting results then the players not in the team will be disappointed, but they're not stupid.

"They understand they have to wait for their chance. I've spoken to all of them and I'm confident they will all be involved in a significant part of the season.

"You get injuries, illness and suspensions and loss of form, so there will always be a place for them in the team and they have to trust me just now as I tell them that.

"Hopefully at the end of the season we can look back and I can say, 'I was right'."

He may not have been a manager before, but coaching under Kenny Dalglish and Jose Mourinho has prepared him for the tougher times ahead.

"The fact I have worked with top squads and top players for the majority of my coaching career has given me a good grounding.

"I understand what players want. I understand they all want to play but if you treat them properly and still give them good work on the training pitch they appreciate that.

"The problem comes if players don't work hard enough in training, then you ask them to play and they're not prepared.

"The players have a duty to themselves to make sure they're prepared to take their chance when it comes."


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