KAZENGA LuaLua is poised to play a more prominent part in Albion’s Championship challenge after manager Gus Poyet revealed he is a man transformed.
The winger came off the bench in the first half to spark the Seagulls’ fightback in Tuesday’s 2-2 home draw against Millwall. LuaLua scored after the break, his second goal in three substitute appearances since he appeared in court in Newcastle charged with affray.
The jury was discharged after failing to agree a verdict and the case will not be heard again until June – after the season has finished.
Poyet told The Argus: “Kazenga is totally different now after the personal situation he had in Newcastle. Now everything’s gone and he is a different person.
“He’s trained well, he’s happier, he’s desperate to play, he wants to affect the game. He popped up in positions we have never seen him in before. He is a different player so he is going to play a lot, that’s for sure.”
Poyet said the change in LuaLua has been “massive”. He added: “Remember, when he came back (from court) we tried to get him back playing football as soon as possible in the under 21’s and he was still thinking about the court case.
“The next day he was a different person and from then on he has been training well and affecting games, even in training. That’s why for the first time in my career I made a substitutuon in the first half, because I needed something different.”
Poyet has also praised Spaniard David, whose late penalty rescued a point against Millwall.
He said: “I think he was man of the match. I don’t want to be unfair to Kaz, because he was the one that changed the game, but David Lopez was different class.
“I am pleased for him because he was one of the players, especially in the first two months, I wanted to play but couldn’t. I was being really unfair and now he has got the chance and he has taken it.”