Belfast Telegraph

NI star Brunt is backed over blast at his West Brom boss

By Graham Luney

Northern Ireland legend Gerry Armstrong has leapt to the defence of Chris Brunt after the West Brom ace sparked controversy by blasting his team-mates and manager Alan Pardew on Saturday.

The 33-year-old let rip at some of his comrades for lacking effort and he also questioned Pardew's tactics after the 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield that offered little hope the basement club will escape relegation from the Premier League.

Former Chelsea and Aston Villa assistant Ray Wilkins said the Northern Ireland international's outburst was 'bang out of order' after his dressing room comments were leaked.

But Armstrong, who played for West Brom in the mid-1980s and was Lawrie Sanchez's No.2 when Brunt made his senior international debut against Switzerland in 2004, said: "I think what happened merely reflects Chris' passion for the game and if the rest of his team-mates felt the same way then West Brom might have a chance of turning the corner.

"You like to see players stand up and be counted. Confidence is low but they are running out of games and something needed to be said. Passions run high, you expect to see that and players will have a voice. Chris is a quiet lad but his frustration has reached boiling point and we can relate to that."

Former West Brom and Sunderland ace Kevin Phillips also defended Brunt, saying: "That was fantastic. I think it's really good he spoke out. That is the passion you need."

Belfast Telegraph

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