Kanu makes his mark on team-mates
By Oliver Bhurrut
GARY Megson is hoping the arrival of Kanu will inspire the rest of his
troops to raise their game during their second crack at Premiership life.
The Nigerian international certainly made his mark in his first Albion
training session this morning (Thursday), with Megson revealing he left one
or two of his new team-mates lost for words with his ball skills.
The Albion manager has confirmed Kanu and fellow new boy Zoltan Gera will be
in his squad for Saturday's 125th anniversary clash against Boavista at The
Hawthorns (ko 3pm).
And Megson said: "In training, Kanu showed the ball to one of the players,
whipped it round him and then got a shot in.
"One of the other lads said 'thank God I wasn't the first one he did that
"There were a lot more people watching training - one or two of the players
actually sat down and watched a seven-a-side they weren't involved in just
to see how he did.
"We are hopeful his good habits will have an effect on the others.
"The mistake that could be made, but won't be made, is tying him down to one
"With the ability he's got he knows what runs to make."
Megson believes the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Premiership winner can
become as big a signing at The Hawthorns as Christophe Dugarry was at Blues
two seasons ago.
"I felt when Blues brought Dugarry in it was a bit of an eye-opener," he
"Signing someone who had won a World Cup was a terrific statement of intent
and it also enabled them to bring other players to the club because if it
was good enough for Dugarry, it was good enough for them. They've moved up
step by step.
"We haven't signed Kanu primarily for that. It was footballing reasons. But
we know the spin-offs won't do us any harm."
Megson insisted the former Arsenal striker's arrival had already lifted the
atmosphere around The Hawthorns.
But despite recognising his big reputation, the Baggies manager warned the
28-year-old hot-shot not to expect any special treatment and challenged him
to prove himself to a new set of fans.
"When you bring in new players it always gives the club a lift," Megson
"Wherever he's played - and he's played for some fantastic clubs - that has
"He has a reputation but he now has to cement that reputation in front of a
new set of supporters.
"A lot of people outside the Midlands will be looking to see how he does at
a new club.
"Pressure is not the right word, but there will be a lot of interest in how
he copes with this.
"Sometimes you can sign someone who is past his best. Hopefully, Kanu is
just coming into his prime. Him joining us is a big thing.
"Hopefully, he can justify his big reputation.
"We've had players like Derek McInnes and Ruel Fox who have played with
bigger clubs than us. No one gets star treatment and it will be no different
Megson admitted the former Ajax and Inter Milan star has some catching up to
do after missing the bulk of pre-season training.
But he is expecting great things from his most high-profile signing to date,
once he is up to speed with the rest of his squad.
"Kanu's already said it's a team game. He's experienced a lot before and
dealt with it," Megson insisted.
"He has been doing work in the off season but it hasn't been ideal. However,
you have to give and take a little bit.
"He's got this opportunity. Now he needs to get himself fit and play like we
know he can do."