Meite hails Hodgson effect

The 30-year-old defender looked set for the scrapheap halfway

through the season with Roberto Di Matteo having not handed him a

single Premier League appearance before he was sacked in February.

Meite claims the Italian never explained why he continued to be

overlooked as the Baggies slipped down the table, and that Di

Matteo told him to look for another club. But the Ivory Coast

international was given a chance to impress by Hodgson and he has

been rewarded with six straight starts as the new boss has steered

Albion towards safety. “Hodgson has changed a lot and we’re looking

good,” Meite told the Daily Mirror. “He’s been a big factor for me

because I didn’t play before and I don’t know why. “I was

professional, I did my job but Hodgson came and was a breath of

fresh air for me. “In January, Di Matteo wanted me to leave but I

said I wanted to stay,” Meite added. “It was a good decision for me

and hopefully the club, too. “I always believed I could play in the

team and now I’m doing so, so I’m happy. “Hodgson arrived and I saw

in training the change because he looked after me and talked to all

the players. It was a big change-around for me – like night and

day. “It’s not finished yet because we have to get 42 or 43 points

to be safe. “But the gaffer has done great things for us and, if I

can help the club to stay up, it would be a good way to say thank

you to Roy – so that’s my mission.” Meite made a £2million

move to West Brom from Bolton in 2008 and could now stay on at The

Hawthorns when his current deal expires this summer as Albion have

a one-year option to extend it. The former Marseille man has helped

the Baggies up to 11th, with last week’s defeat by Chelsea their

first since Hodgson recalled Meite, and the centre-back is

determined to bounce back at Tottenham on Saturday. “We’re playing

well at the moment,” he said. “Tottenham have big players with big

experience, but if we have a strong mentality and play with a good

shape we can get a result. We have to keep working hard.”