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Oct, 31, 2012

Clarke praises Odemwingie work rate

Steve Clarke has praised Peter Odemwingie for his recent return to favour at West Bromwich Albion – and believes he has relocated the player's best position.

The Nigerian international was initially known at The Hawthorns as a striker and followed up his 15 goals in his Baggies debut season two years ago with 11 last term, including a historic winner at Liverpool.

But, amid the club's current surplus of goal-hungry strikers, he has been used mainly out wide and has delighted his boss with the way he has knuckled down since serving a three-match suspension for a red card at Fulham in mid-September.

"His sending-off was a blow for him but I think he has learned his lesson and he showed that when I put him back in for the game against QPR," the head coach said.

"He played really well, then came in and made his contribution against Manchester City (as a substitute) and Newcastle as well.

"I remember watching West Brom last year and Peter played off the right and got some goals from there. He keeps telling me how he scored a hat-trick against Wolves playing from the right.

"I also remember seeing him a few years ago when we went to Moscow with Chelsea and he was playing for Lokomotiv on the right. It's maybe a position that is new to him at Albion but it's not a new position for Peter."

The 31-year-old has been linked with moves elsewhere, notably to Arsenal, and has continued to catch the eye since Clarke's appointment.

He scored against Liverpool on the opening day of the season and has figured high among the assists for a side unlucky to have suffered successive last-gasp defeats against Manchester City and Newcastle.

"I think Peter has always been motivated," Clarke added. "When I spoke to him in the summer, he was keen to be here and see how the team developed with me as head coach.

"I think he's happy and comfortable here. He trains well every day and is a good worker. I have got no complaints about him. He has done well for me."

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