Alan Pardew says Jay Rodriguez will fight to protect his reputation
Striker Rodriguez has strongly denied the allegations.
West Brom boss Alan Pardew will continue to pick Jay Rodriguez but insists the striker is angry about being charged by the Football Association.
Rodriguez was accused of using racist language following a clash with Brighton’s Gaetan Bong, an allegation Pardew fears could follow the one-cap England player for the rest of his career.
Bong accused the 28-year-old during Albion’s 2-0 Premier League win last month and Rodriguez was charged by the Football Association on Thursday. He has until next Friday to respond.
Absolutely gutted and in disbelief at the situation I find myself in. I 100% deny the false allegation and will take the correct legal advice to prove my innocence.— Jay Rodriguez (@JayRodriguez9) February 8, 2018
Albion go to Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday with Rodriguez set to feature despite the controversy.
Pardew said: “I’ve got no problem picking him. At the moment he’s angry but he’s OK.
“It’s a situation which is not ideal for Jay. It’s an accusation he denies and we’re going to support him. It’s not just about us losing Jay for five games, it’s a bit more serious than that, his future after the game – whether he wants to be a coach or go into business.
“Jay is upset about it, he has a good mental capacity to deal with things and hopefully he can concentrate on his football and not worry too much – although it is a worry.”
Rodriguez would face a minimum five-match ban if the case against him is proven.
Footage of the incident at the centre of the allegation shows Rodriguez and Bong arguing and bumping into each other. Rodriguez then holds his nose and waves his hand as if to gesture Bong smells.
Bong immediately complained to referee Martin Atkinson who included the incident in his report, and the defender told French television channel SFR Sport Rodriguez’s comment was “racist in nature”.
Pardew said: “We’re in that world where everyone has to be so careful and talking about it I’m nervous. I spoke to the PFA this morning and tried to speak to Kick It Out.
AP: “It’s a situation that isn’t ideal for Jay. He denies the allegations and as a club we will support him. He’s upset about it. Hopefully he can concentrate on his football and not worry too much about that situation.”#WBA— West Bromić Albion (@WBA) February 9, 2018
“We need to make sure for the two guys we understand the seriousness of the situation.
“It’s a serious accusation so he wants to defend it. He’s adamant to me and has been, he hasn’t changed his tune or his statement or anything.”
Kieran Gibbs, Jonny Evans and Grzegorz Krychowiak are all available for the Baggies’ trip to Stamford Bridge.