Odemwingie: Clarke made me stay

  • Last Updated: September 3 2012, 16:37 BST

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie wanted to leave the Hawthorns this summer but new manager Steve Clarke persuaded him to stay.

Peter Odemwingie: Happy to have changed his mind

The 31-year-old Nigeria international had doubts over his ability to play at the top level but has now rediscovered his desire to play in the Barclays Premier League.

Odemwingie, who scored 15 goals in his first top flight campaign two seasons ago, was the target of a failed bid by Qatari club Al-Gharafa this summer, with rumours of a training pitch bust-up with Clarke circulating as a result of the interest.

However, Odemwingie has denied a rift and says it was a conversation with Clarke that made him reconsider his future.

"Summer was a time when, at my age, I had second thoughts about continuing to play at this level," Odemwingie told the Express and Star.

"I thought there would be nothing new for me at West Brom and I gave it a try (asked about leaving) to see what would happen.

"But the club said that it was too early for me to go and they thought I could play an important role for them and keep playing.

"Then pre-season started and I got hungry again for Premier League action and I forgot about it.

"I don't know where (talk of the bust-up) came from. People would have seen afterwards if there was a problem."

The Soviet-born forward said Clarke, who has previously worked as an assistant at Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool, was the key factor in him staying at the Hawthorns for another season.

Odemwingie signed a three-year contract last summer and went on to score 10 goals for the Baggies last term, with Clarke keen to retain his services.

Odemwingie said: "We sat down and had a normal talk. He was the new coach and he said: 'Give me a few weeks and see how we work, because we're ambitious for this year'.

"I said I would give it a couple of weeks and after that I was enjoying training and it looked like it was going to be an interesting season, so I forgot about the offer."

The pep talk looks to have reaped rewards, as Odemwingie created the opening goal for Shane Long in Saturday's 2-0 win against Everton.

"I am happy for Shane," Odemwingie said, "Because the run he made was that of a determined striker."