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O'Shea on the brink of the Premier League amid an 'unbelievable' season that he didn't expect

Dara O’Shea is thriving at West Bromwich Albion.

Dara O'Shea pictured during West Bromwich Albion's win against Derby County on Wednesday.
Dara O'Shea pictured during West Bromwich Albion's win against Derby County on Wednesday.
Image: Mike Egerton

AS HE STANDS on the cusp of achieving promotion to the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion, Dara O’Shea has revealed that he didn’t expect to play a role for the Baggies this season.

With four games left to play – the first of which is tomorrow’s visit to Blackburn Rovers – West Brom occupy the Championship’s second automatic promotion spot. A five-point buffer separates them from closest pursuers Brentford.

O’Shea has made a big impression since being handed his league debut for the club by manager Slaven Bilic last December.

Wednesday’s game against Derby County was his 13th Championship appearance this season, and the 21-year-old defender marked it by scoring his second goal of the campaign in a 2-0 win.

O’Shea, who joined West Brom from St Kevin’s Boys, was sent to non-league side Hereford to further his development in 2017, before spending last season in League Two with Exeter City.

The young Dubliner was preparing to be dispatched for another loan move this term, but instead he has found himself playing a pivotal role in his club’s bid for a top-flight return.

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“It is unbelievable. I couldn’t have imagined being in this position at the start of the season,” he told the Express & Star.

“At the start of the season I was looking at going out on loan. But the gaffer has been great with me. He integrated me into the group right from the start and I’ve been able to grow as a player because of it.

“Having a gaffer who believes in you and backs you and is willing to play young players in big games and in a big season like this is, I think it’s great.

“The confidence I have from him, even in training, I can go out and express myself and he’s not going to give out to me. As long as I am doing my best he is happy.”

O’Shea is generally recognised as a centre-back, a position in which he produced a string of commanding performances for the Republic of Ireland U21s in 2019. However, he has shown his versatility by excelling for West Brom at right-back.

He said: “When I was on loan at Hereford I played a couple of games there. I’ve not got much experience there, but the gaffer has been great with me. He’s got faith in me so I am really happy.”

Slaven Bilic is a big admirer of O’Shea’s, describing him as “the present and future of West Brom” earlier this week. 

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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