West Bromwich Albion loanees Jayson Molumby has said the lack of game time he received in the early stages of his career at The Hawthorns actually helped him learn manager Valerien Ismael’s system and methods before being thrown in, speaking to the West Midlands side’s media team.
The 22-year-old first arrived at the second-tier side in the latter stages of August, tasked with providing competition to regular starters Jake Livermore and Alex Mowatt in the middle of the park following the departures of Conor Gallagher, Okay Yokuslu and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the summer as they returned to their respective parent clubs on the expiration of their temporary spells.
Despite these departures, the Republic of Ireland international found it tough to break into the starting lineup at West Brom despite taking a step down from Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion to ply his trade in the West Midlands – and it’s clear to see why.
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Livermore remained as a club captain even with the appointment of Ismael, with the latter recruiting former Barnsley skipper Mowatt as his first signing with the duo playing a key part in the Tykes’ meteoric rise up the table from 21st to fifth.
The Irishman finally made his first league start for the Baggies last week against Swansea City in Mowatt’s absence, also remaining in the lineup at the weekend in their 3-0 victory over Bristol City with the former Barnsley man out and Livermore suspended.
Speaking candidly about his lack of first-team opportunities at the beginning of his West Brom career ahead of this weekend’s tie against promotion rivals Fulham, he said: “It probably helped me to wait a bit until I played because I was working every day in training, finding out exactly how the gaffer wants us to play as a team and how he wants me to play as an individual.
“I feel like the more I play, the more I’ll get used to the style and the more I’ll understand what’s expected of me.
“It’s been great for me to get into the team. Getting the win the other day against Bristol City was great.
“I think I have a good understanding of what the gaffer expects from me. As long as I’m clear in what I need to do, then that’s the route forward.”
Having a level-headed figure like Molumby who isn’t constantly knocking on the manager’s door demanding first-team chances will be vital for West Brom, because there are a number of high-quality players who will need to wait patiently for their chance at The Hawthorns.
Although some would argue that it would be wise to cash in on those who aren’t getting the chances they deserve, strength in depth will be key for the Baggies’ promotion charge and especially with the likes of AFC Bournemouth and Fulham looking strong at this stage, with Sheffield United also likely to be involved in the top six at some point.
It’s astonishing that Albion had the likes of Callum Robinson, Kean Bryan and eight-figure fee signing Grady Diangana on their bench at the weekend, with Semi Ajayi also likely to be on the bench when Dara O’Shea makes his return from a fractured ankle.
There are a couple of areas they would ideally need to address in January, with a main forward potentially needed to fire Ismael’s men to automatic promotion or another wide man to provide more options in the front three.
You could even argue they should bring in another natural central midfield option with Robert Snodgrass playing out of position and Quevin Castro perhaps not experienced enough to play in the Championship yet.