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El Ghanassy must be more 'savvy'

Yassine El Ghanassy has been told to work harder to prove he has a long-term future at West Bromwich Albion, after failing to grasp the demands of the Premier League.

• Thomas still has West Brom future

The winger, on loan from Belgian club Gent for the season, has yet to make a top-flight appearance and Albion are undecided as to whether to try to make his move a permanent deal in the summer.

El Ghanassy's problems have limited him to just two Capital One Cup appearances so far and Albion head coach Steve Clarke wants to see an improvement in the second half of the season if he is to be persuaded to offer him a long-term contract.

He has been unable to force his way past the likes of Peter Odemwingie, Zoltan Gera, Graham Dorrans and Chris Brunt and assistant coach Keith Downing has revealed the club's coaching staff feel the 22-year-old is still struggling to come to terms with English football.

"In January, when people are away, he will be considered. Yassine is one of those players of the kind we don't have many of at the club. He has dribbling ability. He can draw people out with his individual ability," said Downing.

"But it's a case of him knowing when to do it, when not to do it. That's where Yassine has to learn a little bit more savvy."

Downing insists Clarke is prepared to be patient with the young Belgian international, who has the talents to follow the long line of fellow countrymen who have made a big impact in the Premier League over the last couple of seasons.

"He's a young player, who came into a new environment when he joined us. It's a different culture, a different way of playing to what he was used to. He's having to adapt to the English way. It's not just about attacking but about defensive, positional play," said Downing.

"He's still learning his game, going through a period of working on what we're telling him to do. He is learning during this first half of the season, watching and seeing how it should be done. It's all a learning curve for him.

"You're asking people to come over from a different culture, different countries and a different way of playing and saying 'right, go out there and play'. Some adapt quicker than others."

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