West Bromwich Albion

The Boy’s Got Skills – West Brom’s Graham Dorrans

Graham Dorrans is definitely a player to keep an eye on. The West Bromwich Albion midfielder has been a revelation since his move from Livingston in July 2008.

The Scottish international was not expected to play much in his first season for the Baggies but after making his debut in Albion’s Premier League match against Manchester City as a second half substitute, he never looked back and quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite.

Albions manager at the time, Tony Mowbray was glowing in his praise of Dorrans’ creative ability.

“Graham only gets into our squad because of his talent; he shows it on the training ground.

“He’s outstanding on the pitch with his ability to manipulate the ball, create and play clever disguised passes.

“His best position is coming in from the left-hand side with his right foot and playing clever passes and shooting, taking the full-back out, but I played him in a more central role which I know he can do.

“Hopefully, it’s the start of a successful career for him at this football club.”

West Brom knew they were getting a highly coveted player in 2008 after beating off competition from Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Rangers, Hearts and Middlesbrough for his signature. But the highest level Dorrans had played at was the Scottish First Division so it was always going to be a risk.

His impact, though, could not be ignored and he has twice been offered contract extension at the Hawthorns, once in May 2009 after his initial good performances. And another last month, in January, after interest from a number of Premier League clubs forced Albion to renegotiate.

And the 22-year-old has certainly earned his new and improved contract for he has been arguably Albion’s key player this year as they aim for an instant return to the top-flight. He has netted 12 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions, quite an achievement for the Glasgow-born creator.

Prior to moving south he had spent his whole career with Livingston, after signing for their academy at the age of 13. The 2005-06 campaign saw him loaned out to Partick Thistle where he made quite an impression, scoring five goals in 15 outings for the Glasgow club. This period really helped him develop and he went back to Livi as a more mature player. This told with his performances and 10 goals in the first half of the 2007-08 campaign saw interest from the West Midlands emerge.

He had a trial at the Hawthorns and in January 2008 Dorrans agreed a deal to sign for the Black Country club in the summer. The fee was an initial £100,000 rising to £150,000 based on certain criteria. Before making the switch in the summer he continued his fantastic form in Scotland and won his division’s player of the season award.

Dorrans has all the makings of a Premier League footballer with his good first touch and vision for a defence-splitting pass, as well as the ability to score goals from midfield.

If he carries on this season’s performances there is every chance he will be mixing it with the big boys in August.

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