West Brom boss Tony Pulis insists his relationship with Nacer Chadli is good and he is looking forward to having the midfielder fully fit again after the international break.
Chadli has yet to kick a ball in the Premier League this season after skipping the club’s week-long pre-season training camp in Austria. His only appearance for Albion came in the EFL Cup win at Accrington last month.
The 28-year-old Belgium international was almost sold to Swansea during the transfer window but Pulis has praised the former club-record signing.
“He’s been brilliant, he’s been fantastic,” said Pulis.
“I don’t think it was a refusal (to go to Austria). Jonny Evans did it the year before. They finished a lot later than everyone else the previous season and needed a break.
“Chadli is a very good professional who looks after himself extremely well. Along with a lot of players today, especially the foreign players, they have their own fitness advisors and coaches.
“His argument was a fair argument. As a manager, in the modern game, you have to sit down and talk to these players.
“I make the final decision, but if I go with him and say ‘that’s not a bad idea’, that’s being the boss as well.
“Evans was the same the year before, he needed a bit more time and we gave it to him.”
Chadli was pencilled in to play against Brighton at the beginning of this month before a muscle strain scuppered those plans.
He returned from injury for the under-23 side on Monday night, playing 45 minutes, but Pulis is unlikely to include him in his plans against Watford on Saturday because he is hoping he can rediscover his match sharpness with Belgium during the international break.
“Hopefully he goes away with Belgium and gets some game time. This international break could be good for us, it might be good for him, and a couple of the other players, to go and get some minutes in international football.”
Watford visit The Hawthorns having won all three of their away matches in the Premier League so far this season under former Hull manager Marco Silva.
Pulis said: “He has a better horse to ride this year than last year (when Silva was in charge at Hull).
“He’s been backed – they’ve spent quite a bit of money. They look a very capable team and it’ll be a tough game.”