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Derby County target George Thorne still in West Brom plans, says new boss Alan Irvine

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: June 20, 2014

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NEW West Bromwich Albion boss Alan Irvine says he does not want to lose Derby County summer transfer target George Thorne.

Irvine has just been appointed Baggies head coach and is keen to meet with the midfielder to discuss his future.

Derby have already had a bid of just under £1m for Thorne rejected, prompting the 21-year-old to hand in a transfer request, which was also turned down by the Premier League club.

The Rams are expected to continue their pursuit of the player, who impressed during a loan spell at the iPro Stadium last season and has indicated he would consider a permanent switch.

But Irvine said: “I don’t think we should be letting players go.

“I would like to meet all of the players and see them in pre-season training and then make decisions from there.

“I certainly wouldn’t like to see us lose good, young players at this time."

Referring to Thorne - a product of Albion's youth academy - Irvine added: “We haven’t even spoken yet, so it’s not as if he’s had chance to formulate an opinion about me or vice-versa.

“I would think any player in the squad at this moment might be thinking it’s a chance for them to stake a claim for a regular place."

West Brom technical director Terry Burton, who took up the role last month, insisted that the door was still open for Thorne to stake his claim for regular top-flight football.

“George is Albion’s player, he is under contract and we think he’s a good player," said Burton.

“We want the opportunity to see if we can give him first-team football but, ultimately, that is up to George.

“It’s about performance. It doesn’t matter who they are, whatever group of players we’ve got or eventually come in, it will be about performance.

“If George is the best man for the job, he will get it. No-one here has any favourites or any reason not to play the best person, so if George shows he’s the best person for the position, we are all winners."

Thorne has made it clear he sees his future away from West Brom but Burton is not ruling out a change of heart.

“He’s a professional footballer and I’m sure George will come back in with the attitude that that’s what he wants to be," said the former Wimbledon boss.

“I would assume he wants to play Premier League football, not Championship football, and if he does, well then the platform is here for him.

“It’s all in his hands. He’s got a great opportunity to come back here and show everybody: ‘I’ve talked the talk, now I can walk the walk’."

Thorne joined Derby on loan in January, having just signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract at the Hawthorns.

He had to wait until March for his debut but went on to play 12 matches in a holding midfield role, of which Derby won nine.

the former England youth international was also the Rams' stand-out performer in their Championship play-off final loss to Queens Park Rangers at Wembley.

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