If you want to know where football goes to die, then look no further than the grounds of any Tony Pulis led side. Pulis has been renowned for keeping bottom half sides consistently afloat in relegation battles, but also for playing the most mundane and desperate football in the league. Players are not nurtured or improved under Pulis, they are broken down like flesh and bone crashing against rock in a merciless sea. They are systematically brainwashed, drones who know nothing but fifty yard balls forward and defensive advancements that dare not stray further than forty yards from goal. Somehow Alex Pritchard landed in this graveyard of good football and, predictably, it isn't going well. This is what Dave Kemp, second in command at the Hawthorns, had to say about Pritchard's situation.
"You go on and the team is playing well, it's much easier," said Kemp, West Brom's number two. "He's a good footballer, no question about that.
"It's awkward when everybody else is playing poorly, it's not easy."
"It gave him an opportunity, but on the day it was difficult," Kemp said of Pritchard's run out against the Canaries.
"It wasn't the best stage for him because the team's not playing well, it makes it awkward for him."
West Brom sit 11th in the Premier League table and have actually had some nice results; namely their recent draw against Leicester and their victory over United. Yet the matches have never been pretty and Pritchard doesn't really resemble a Pulis guy.
When the news broke that Pritchard was moving to West Brom, it wasn't an ideal situation, but it did seem a team that he could break into. With the high level of competition for spots at Spurs and his injury plagued first half the move, at the very least, seemed an upgrade for the twenty-two year old.
The hope here is simple: West Brom don't look to be in a relegation scrap and guys such as Sessegnon, Morrison, and Mclean are significantly older than Pritchard and known quantities for Albion. Maybe they view Pritchard as someone who can get lost in the shuffle at Tottenham and, with an increase in playing time, instill some sort of loyalty from him so that when a low ball offer comes from them, he isn't completely against a move.
This is unlikely, but it is a hope nonetheless. Anything to gain Pritchard more playing time is a positive for both Spurs and the player himself. And who knows, maybe the void of meaning in the remainder of Albion's season forces a change within their mentality and they look to their youth. Or maybe their incentives are even more aligned than this. Give Pritchard an extended run-in to gauge him as a potential makeweight for Berahino this summer. Either scenario works for me, just get the boy on the damn field.