West Brom comment: Albion need to reward reliable Conor Townsend with a new deal

He is a player who has tended to go under the radar but Conor Townsend is finally starting to get the recognition and plaudits he deserves at Albion.

Bobby Decordova-Reid of Fulham and Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)
Bobby Decordova-Reid of Fulham and Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

And with his current deal set to expire at the end of the campaign, the time has come for the Baggies to sit him down and start talks over a new one.

The 27-year-old has remained incredibly patient ever since joining the Baggies from Scunthorpe in 2018.

For the vast majority of his time at The Hawthorns, Townsend has had to play second-fiddle to Kieran Gibbs.

There was also a spell last year where he was behind both Gibbs and Nathan Ferguson. But whenever he did play, Townsend never let anyone down.

And, crucially, when he wasn’t in the side he didn’t throw his toys out the pram. Instead, Townsend worked hard and remained professional, knowing another chance would come his way.

And he got a big break at the beginning of this season when Gibbs was recklessly sent off at Everton. From that point on, Townsend hasn’t looked back.

While everyone always appreciated he is an excellent crosser of the ball, Townsend tended to be viewed as steady rather than spectacular by supporters.

But his all-round game has come on leaps and bounds in the Premier League. Stats and analysis website Whoscored.com has listed what they believe are his strengths and weakness.

They say he is strong in aerial duels, at holding on to the ball, at passing and tackling. But his weaknesses column is empty, with the website saying he is a player with no significant flaws.

Perhaps one reason why Townsend has had to deal with so many question marks above his head is because he arrived from League One.

If a player is snapped up from an established Premier League club or an exotic European side there is a bit more excitement around them.

The reality is – rightly or wrongly – arriving from Scunthorpe isn’t as glamorous. Slaven Bilic certainly thinks that has played a part in how Townsend has been viewed at times.

“There is no reason why we should always put a question above his name and after a not great game say ‘League One player’,” Bilic said.

“It’s hard for him to get confidence like that. I also played in League One in the former Yugolsavia and in a few years’ time I was in the Premier League.

“Jamie Vardy played non-league and now he is one of the best strikers in the world. He is playing well, he gives his best, he’s a great worker and a great professional.”

Townsend’s remarkable career has seen him play in the top four tiers of English football. Each time he has adapted to the level and improved. And he has done so again in the top flight.

Hopefully, his influence at Albion will continue to grow this season and for many seasons to come.

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