By Kevin Phillips

25th Jan, 2020 | 7:00pm

'Can you really afford to do that?' - Phillips frets over West Brom star who started v West Ham

Kevin Phillips has admitted that he has not been convinced with the return of Ahmed Hegazi to the West Brom starting XI.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Baggies star says that the Egyptian international looked off the pace in the defeat to Stoke on Monday night after he replaced Semi Ajayi in the side.

Hegazi kept his place for Saturday afternoon’s 1-0 win over West Ham in the FA Cup, Ajayi returning only to pick up a red card for two bookable offences.

Phillips says that he thought both Bartley and Ajayi would remain mainstays for Slaven Bilic until the end of the season and questioned whether the manager should be chopping and changing his centre-back partnership.

Phillips told Football Insider: “That centre-half position, I thought it was nailed on for Ajayi and Bartley for the rest of the season but anything can happen. 

“You saw with Hegazi with the mistake (v Stoke City) it might take two or three games to get back up to match fitness and at this stage of the season, can you really afford to do that?”

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Hegazi has been on the fringes of the first team for much of this season, with Saturday’s runout only his eighth appearance across all competitions.

He has been an important member of the Baggies’ squad since his arrival from El Ahly, playing a total of 92 times at the Hawthorns after initially signing on loan in 2017.

In other West Brom news, Phillips has had his say as the club set their sights on signing a Rangers mainstay.