Dara O’Shea ready to knock on the door at West Brom
Young defender Dara O’Shea believes he’s ready to step up into the Championship next season.
The 20-year-old centre-back impressed for large parts of Albion’s pre-season friendly against Villarreal, and was the only player on either side to complete the full 90 minutes.
Barring a late mistake, he looked composed next to Kyle Bartley, and following a successful loan spell at League Two Exeter City last season, he’s keen to knock on the door of the first team.
“To be honest, I’m just going to put my head down and see where it takes me,” said O’Shea. “It’s obviously tough being a young defender, to get chances, but if I get one I’m going to take it. That’s what I’m looking at.
“I think I’m able to step up. Obviously I’m still young, still learning, I just want to keep learning, that’s the main thing. Last season was a huge eye-opener for me, and that will really stick to me for the coming year.”
The Irish defender was a crucial part of Exeter’s team that finished one point outside the play-off spots last season.
And he says playing under former centre-back Matt Taylor helped him develop.
“The gaffer at Exeter was great with me,” said O’Shea. “He was a centre-half and he took me for one-to-one sessions and made me learn.
“Everything about being in the first team environment, it’s a big step up from the under-23s, and that’s what I wanted to do last season. Being around that environment has put me in good stead.
“I feel like last season, being out on loan helped me a lot. I’ve grown up a lot and matured a lot, and it’s helped me fit in.”
O’Shea was the only player on either side to play the full 90 minutes in the Villarreal game, and Slaven Bilic was complimentary despite a late error letting Carlos Bacca in for a goal.
The young defender was pleased Bilic decided to have such a long look at him.
“I just want to play for as long as I can, if he’s confident to leave me on for 90 minutes I’m happy with that and hopefully I can keep on impressing,” said O’Shea.
“He’s great, he’s come in and said what he wants. All the boys have bought into it, he’s a great manager, his reputation speaks for itself, the teams he’s managed and where he’s got his teams to.
“Obviously Villarreal are a great side, they taught us a lesson in keeping the ball.
“I found it OK, obviously it’s pre-season, we’re still trying to get full fitness back, but I felt comfortable.”
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