Of all the West Bromwich Albion players to have flourished since Tony Mowbray took over as manager, Richard Chaplow has received the least attention but has perhaps done as much as anybody to promote the team's recent revival.
His performance against Wolves last Saturday, when Albion won 3-0 at Molineux to secure a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup, might have been overshadowed by that of Diomansy Kamara but, in its own way, was just as important
The match was won and lost in midfield and Chaplow was superior to anybody Wolves had on a day in which only one team seemed comfortable.
These days, with Albion ostensibly lacking a holding midfield player, Chaplow is often to be found dictating the pace of play and providing the kind of stability that allows the likes of Jason Koumas and Jonathan Greening freedom to express.
In Mowbray's view, Chaplow does not have the physical presence of, say, a Darren Carter, but does have the quick feet and vision that all midfield players require. And to think that Chaplow seemed to have reached the crossroads at The Hawthorns during the second half of last season when he spent three months on loan with Southampton and seemed surplus to requirements.
Interestingly, although he joined Albion two years ago this month, he has still only started 11 league matches for the club — as many as he started for Southampton. But Chaplow, just 19 when Bryan Robson signed him for Albion, is a week away from his 22nd birthday.
The boy has become a man and Mowbray can see a player around which a midfield can revolve. "I'll give a mention to young Chaplow because I thought he was excellent [against Wolves]," Mowbray said. "He used all his attributes, his mobility, quick feet and intercepted a lot of things.
"He is a young footballer who will only get better. He has grasped an opportunity that was given to him a few weeks ago. He has shown a great maturity about his game which when we arrived we felt had to happen.
"He needed to mature and he is showing signs he is going to do that as a footballer. He did a great job for his team."
If Chaplow took his time to settle at The Hawthorns, that owed much to the tactics that were employed under Robson. Then, Albion seemed to be content with two defensive central midfield players and Robson was happy to make use of players such as Ronnie Wallwork and Nigel Quashie.
Mowbray has a different view. He sent Wallwork on loan to Barnsley, sold Quashie to West Ham United, and gave Chaplow an opportunity.
To some, the midfield might lack balance, but recent results suggest that something is right. True, Mowbray says he has more "artists" than "soldiers" and that he wants to sign at least one soldier before the transfer window closes. But Chaplow seems to fall into both categories, which is one reason why Mowbray has given the Accrington-born player a chance to make the grade.
Mowbray's tactics, which have helped Albion to score three goals or more in ten out of 20 matches, are designed to bring the best out of Jason Koumas, Kamara and Greening, which means that it is easy to forget that Chaplow is as important to the team as those who attract the bigger headlines.
Chaplow is sure to keep his place when Albion play at home to Plymouth Argyle tomorrow and, indeed, it is difficult to see Mowbray making any changes from the team that defeated Wolves.
It was, Mowbray says, as good as the balance has been in the Albion team, and the midfield is flourishing.
Sherjill MacDonald, the Dutch striker on loan with Albion until the end of the season, is eligible to play against Plymouth and could occupy a place on the substitutes' bench. The Holland Under-21 international, who moved to The Hawthorns last Friday from AGOVV Apeldoorn, could sign a permanent contract if he impresses Mowbray.
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