Belfast Telegraph

Tony Pulis regrets handling of Jake Livermore absence

Jake Livermore will return for West Brom at Arsenal but boss Tony Pulis admitted he should have kept quiet over the midfielder's issue.

The 27-year-old was given an extended break this week after his summer was interrupted by international duty with England.

He missed last weekend's 0-0 draw with West Ham and the 2-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday.

Livermore also posted on social media to ease fans' fears and said the break was only to rest his body after concerns as, in 2015, he escaped a ban despite testing positive for cocaine as he struggled to cope with the death of his new-born son.

He is available for the trip to the Emirates on Monday and Pulis said he regrets how he handled the situation.

He said: "Jake will be okay. Coming out and saying he was tired mentally and physically, maybe I should have just said he had a hamstring injury and that would have stopped all the press and speculation of this and that. Maybe I've learned my lesson.

"Everything's fine, he just needed a break and a couple of days off to dust himself down and clear his mind and everything else.

"The thing with Jake was, going away with England in the summer, coming back and then going away with England again i t was new and it was fresh and he did look tired.

"His stats showed he looked a bit tired and jaded. There was nothing else to it, nothing at all."

Nacer Chadli (thigh), Oliver Burke (hamstring) and Chris Brunt (calf) will all be assessed ahead of Monday's game.

Gareth Barry will also break Ryan Giggs' Premier League appearance record if he plays in his 633rd top flight game.

"Gareth is such a down to earth chap he just wants to get it over with and move on," Pulis added.

Meanwhile, Pulis refused to criticise Darren Fletcher after his former captain said he felt unappreciated at the Baggies.

Fletcher joined Stoke on a free transfer in the summer after failing to agree a new contract at The Hawthorns, despite having the option to extend it.

Pulis added: "I think he was disappointed with the club not making him the offer he thought he was worth. That's Darren's view, I understand that. I don't think he would criticise the football club. I just think it was the offer."

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