HONG KONG: West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis hopes new signing Jay Rodriguez can be the answer to his team's goal scoring problems this season, despite the former Southampton striker's injury woes.
Rodriguez's career has been hampered by a knee injury sustained in April 2014. He left Southampton earlier this month to join Pulis' team in a deal worth 12 million pounds having struggled last season under Claude Puel.
But Pulis is confident Rodriguez can play a key role this year for West Brom, who finished 10th last season but scored just 43 goals in 38 league games last season.
"Jay, up until he got his injury, was playing for England and you're looking at an extraordinary talent when he was at Southampton," said Pulis, whose team face Leicester City in the Premier League Asia Trophy on Wednesday.
"I've spoken to a lot of people who have worked with him and, apart from those ravenous injuries, everyone will tell you he's a fantastic character. He works hard and his goal scoring speaks for itself.
"There's no question we need more competition up front and he'll bring that competition."
West Brom have also signed Egyptian Ahmed Hegazi on loan from Cairo's Al Ahly with an option to buy the centre half at the end of the season, with Pulis calling it "the perfect deal".
"It's a magnificent deal for us as a football club and it gives us the opportunity to see if he can adapt to the Premier League," he said.
"We have got it all tied in with the club that if we like him we can take him.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on the lad. We've been looking at him for a long time and we've managed to get the deal we wanted."
Pulis said signing the Egyptian on a permanent deal right away would have presented too much of a risk.
"We didn't want to take the chance of signing him on a permanent deal because you just don't know the character and the understanding of English football and English tradition and the English values of life.
"So I think we've got the perfect deal and you don't get them too often," he added.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)