Daryl Dike

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West Bromwich Albion had yet to see the best from American striker Daryl Dike following his transfer to the club last January, but Monday’s impactful substitute performance from him provides just an example of his long-term potential for the English second-tier club.

Dike came off the bench for Carlos Corberan’s squad on Monday and delivered the game-tying assist and game-winning goal in West Brom’s 2-1 comeback victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It was a rewarding experience for the 22-year-old striker following a frustrating spell on the sidelines for most of the first half of the English Football League Championship season.

The former Orlando City forward had been reduced to only four appearances for the Baggies over the past 10 months due to respective injuries, but recently returned to action before the start of the World Cup break. Dike came off the bench on Wearside and needed only 18 minutes to help turn things around for West Brom, a key spark that he hopes continues through the winter schedule.

“My emotions are through the roof,” said Dike postmatch. “These past months have been the most difficult time of my life. All I want to do is be on the pitch and support the guys.

“Finally having this chance, and coming on and making an impact, is great for me mentally,” he added. “It was good for me, over the last month, to train over and over again, to get my body used to playing football again.”

Dike was acquired by West Brom during Steve Bruce’s regime as manager, but now has a new face in Corberan to work under this season. Corberan enjoyed success with fellow EFL Championship side Huddersfield Town last season, taking the Terriers to the promotion playoff final before falling to Nottingham Forest by a 1-0 scoreline.

After a short spell in Greece with Olympiakos, Corberan is back in England and trying to get West Brom back up the league table in due time. Dike’s powerful header in the 82nd minute of Monday’s match extended West Brom’s winning run to four matches and most importantly moved it out of the relegation zone.

Monday marked only Dike’s second appearance under Corberan since his arrival at the club, but he has already seen the improvement under the 39-year-old.

“Under the new manager it was great to learn his tactics and learn what he wants and everything,” Dike said. “Being incorporated in this squad for the past month has been phenomenal for me and the rest of the guys.

“Before the break we were on a three-game winning streak, and over the last month we’ve worked so hard for a result like today,” he added. “We go into the weekend hoping to continue this streak.”

West Brom will now continue its busy December schedule with four matches over the next 17 days, starting with Saturday’s home match vs. Rotherham United at the Hawthorns. Coventry City, Bristol City, and Preston North End will also oppose the Baggies over the next few weeks, with Dike aiming to build off of his confident performance.

Dike’s return to the West Brom attack will add another option for Corberan to call upon during the frantic holiday schedule. Should Monday’s performance kickstart Dike into a strong run of form for the club, West Brom could be chasing different goals come the start of 2023.

“I’m always going to be a confident player, but of course getting the first goal is the one they say is going to be the most difficult,” Dike said. “That’s out of the way, so I’ll just keep pushing on, keep getting results and, of course, keep getting on the scoresheet.”

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