West Bromwich Albion may be just about the worst team in the Premier League this season, but one of their best players has been Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher. Whether under Slaven Bilic or Sam Allardyce, the young midfielder has played a key role for the Baggies, even if it must be a somewhat chastening experience to hang out mired so deeply in the relegation zone (see also: Ethan Ampadu at Sheffield United).
But on a personal level, the loan has still been very useful for Gallagher, earning himself plenty of minutes and, even more importantly, plenty of recognition at the highest level of the game in England — and hopefully from the powers that be at Chelsea, too.
“I feel like I have improved a lot. I have shown people I can play at this level and I am good enough.
“I played 47 games in the Championship last season including the play-offs. I was at Charlton in the first half of the season and then Swansea in the second half of the season. They were both great loan spells for me even though they were both short I learnt a lot.
“With both teams I became a better player and better person and I did well, so I was ready to make the step up. Chelsea thought so too – they wanted me to play in the Premier League. So when West Brom wanted to sign me and there was a chance, I wasn’t going to turn it down. […] Ever since a young age, I have loved [football] and dreamed of playing in the Premier League.”
At one point, Gallagher started thirteen Premier League matches in a row. While he’s had a few breathers recently, one would image his involvement will continue. West Brom don’t have too many great options and they face a practically impossible fight to avoid relegation. They’d do well to play the players who are motivated most by various individual goals, such as an ambitious youngster from Chelsea, who may have just turned 21, but wants to stay and play at the top level (cc: Chelsea FC).
“I have enjoyed being here from the very first day. Meeting all the boys, they have been great – they are all nice guys and made it easy for me to settle in quick and to enjoy my football. Then when I started playing and I kept myself in the team – that helped my confidence.”
“So it’s now time to push on even more. You can never stop or take your foot off the gas. It’s been great and I hope I can carry on and help the team this season.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: Express & Star
West Brom’s next match is on Sunday, at home against Manchester United. Would be a great time to nick a couple points off of them! Good luck, Conor (and Branislav Ivanovic, too)!