Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

McAuley: No egos in Baggies squad

Gareth McAuley insists the West Brom squad is united
Gareth McAuley insists the West Brom squad is united

Defender Gareth McAuley insists the strong nature of the West Brom dressing room will ensure the club bounces back from the current series of unsavoury incidents surrounding key players.

Peter Odemwingie has been fined for his series of Twitter attacks on the club and turning up at Loftus Road without permission on transfer deadline day, only to see his proposed move to QPR collapse, while left-back Goran Popov was also disciplined for spitting in the direction of Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker.

But McAuley is adamant the players will police themselves, and said: "Everyone keeps everyone in check. When players are low you pick them up. When they're getting carried away you bring them back down to earth. That's how dressing rooms always have been."

He went on: "You always hear how players miss the dressing room when they retire. We've a good dressing room at the moment. It works both ways, I said there was no egos when I came here. Everyone wants the same things, we play to win.

"Do the headlines affect the dressing room? Once you're on the pitch, you're focused, things in the background don't come into your mind. You're too busy focusing on the game and what's going on in front of you."

McAuley was not allowed to comment on Odemwingie's behaviour but revealed that Macedonian international Popov had apologised for his actions.

He said: "Goran has said sorry for his actions, we draw a line under it and he'll serve his time on the sidelines.

"Liam Ridgewell will come into the side now and make it hard for him to get back in

"Was it cultural? I'm not sure. It was out of character. He's actually a nice guy.

"You can put it down to a head loss. It's something he wishes he hadn't done. It was one of things you can't believe. I'd have reacted differently. But he knew he was in the wrong after the game. He held his hands up."

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