3rd September, 2012
Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie admits he is glad boss Steve Clarke persuaded him to stay at West Bromwich Albion after he considered leaving the Premier League club during the close-season.
Odemwingie told Albion chiefs he wanted to quit the Hawthorns for a new challenge after a disappointing campaign last season.
The 31-year-old, who scored 15 goals for Albion two seasons ago, was the target of a failed bid by Qatari club Al-Gharafa, while rumours of a training ground row with new manager Clarke added to the impression that his time at the club could be coming to an end.
However, Odemwingie has denied there was a rift with Clarke and claims a conversation with the former Chelsea and Liverpool assistant made him reconsider his future.
“Summer was a time when, at my age, I had second thoughts about continuing to play at this level,” Odemwingie told the Express and Star.
“I thought there would be nothing new for me at West Brom and I gave it a try (asked about leaving) to see what would happen.
“But the club said that it was too early for me to go and they thought I could play an important role for them and keep playing.
“Then pre-season started and I got hungry again for Premier League action and I forgot about it.
“I don’t know where (talk of the bust-up) came from. People would have seen afterwards if there was a problem.”
Odemwingie still scored 10 goals for the Baggies last term despite some mediocre performances and Clarke was keen to retain his services.
He started to repay Clarke for his faith on Saturday as he came off the bench to set up the crucial first goal in Albion’s 2-0 win against Everton.
“We sat down and had a normal talk. He was the new coach and he said: ‘Give me a few weeks and see how we work, because we’re ambitious for this year’,” Odemwingie said.
“I said I would give it a couple of weeks and after that I was enjoying training and it looked like it was going to be an interesting season, so I forgot about the offer.”