West Brom boss Tony Pulis moved to allay fears over midfielder Jake Livermore and conceded he chose the wrong words by describing the player as “mentally tired”.
England international Livermore missed last weekend’s 0-0 draw with West Ham and did not return for the 2-1 EFL Cup loss to Manchester City in midweek.
Two and a half years ago, the 27-year-old tested positive for cocaine but was spared a ban by the Football Association, which took into account Livermore’s struggles with depression after the death of his newborn son.
Speaking at a news conference to preview Monday’s match with Arsenal, Pulis confirmed the ex-Tottenham man would be available to play at Emirates Stadium and expressed regret over how he discussed Livermore’s recent omission.
“Jake will be okay,” he said. “Coming out and saying he was tired mentally and physically, I should have just said he had a hamstring injury and that would have stopped all the press and speculation of this and that.
“Maybe I’ve learned my lesson. Everything’s fine, he just needed a break. A couple of days off to dust himself down and clear his mind and everything else.
“The thing with Jake, going away with England in the summer, coming back and then going away with England again – it was new and it was fresh and he did look tired.
“His stats showed he looked a bit tired and jaded. There was nothing else to it, nothing at all.”
West Brom head to north London with eight points from their opening five matches – one more than Arsenal.
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