Koren still in Baggies plans
Roberto Di Matteo has told Robert Koren to be patient and bide his time for a first-team chance.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 22/11/09 10:15pm
Roberto Di Matteo has told Robert Koren to be patient and bide his time for a first-team opportunity.
The midfielder has grown unsettled at West Brom, having started just eight games from a possible 17 in the Championship this season, and has even stated that he would be willing to leave the club in January.
The Slovenian national team captain has had to make do with a place on the bench in three of the last four matches but Baggies boss Di Matteo insists he still has an important part to play.
The 29-year-old has expressed concern that his lack of football may spell the end of his World Cup dream after Slovenia defeated Russia last week in the play-offs to book their place in South Africa.
"I think he's a great player," Di Matteo told the Birmingham Mail.
"It's a great achievement for him and his nation to reach the World Cup. I've always liked him but we have a lot of players in his department and I can only put 11 players on the pitch.
"He's part of it and he's been involved a lot, probably not in his favourite position. But we are overloaded and needed to find a balance to the side.
"Robert will get a chance to play because he is still a vital member of the squad. I understand he will want regular football and I understand his position but he's intelligent enough to understand my position."
The Italian was also quick to point out that the same applied to Marek Cech, who has also expressed dissatisfaction at not being a regular.
"That applies to Marek as well," he added. "It is a long season and players will get their chance."