West Brom caretaker manager Frank Burrows has told Jason Koumas he can become one of the best midfielders in the Premiership if he works harder.
Burrows is full of admiration for the ball skills of the Welsh international but has stressed the need for him to improve the other side of his game.
Koumas is one of Albion’s most creative talents but only found himself among the substitute’s for last week’s 4-1 home defeat by Chelsea.
Burrows, who will again be in charge of the side for Saturday’s clash at Southampton, told the Press Association: “Jason is a talent – but talent on its own is not enough.
“You’ve got to work your socks off and Jason knows what he has got to do. I’ve had a chat with him this week about that.
“I’ve told him what I expect out of him. On the ball, there is nothing I can talk to Jason about. In terms of passing the ball, there is nothing I can talk to Jason about.
“But it’s about his attitude to working off the ball because when you don’t have the ball you’ve got to defend. Jason is part of a team and the whole team defends.
“Jason needs to get his head around the not too serious problem of working hard. He needs to work hard to back up his talent. I can’t stress it too much.
“At this moment when he is not on the ball, he doesn’t do it. I’m not slaughtering or blasting him. The lad needs to work a lot harder to back up his huge talent.
“If he does that, then West Brom will have one of the best midfielders in the Premier League but until he does, we will always be just missing out.”
Central defender Darren Purse will return from a four-match suspension at St Mary’s, vowing to learn from his "trial by TV" after being sent off for alleged use of an elbow against Newcastle six weeks ago.
He said: “Trial by TV is what happens in football now. TV has been brilliant for football over the last 10 years and you’ve just got to take it on the chin and get on with it.
“It’s here to stay and the FA have got these rules. It happens every week now. It is part of the job now. I’ve got to start keeping my elbows down and learn from it.”