Express & Star

Honeymoon period is over for West Brom shot-stopper Alex Palmer

Albion goalkeeper Alex Palmer has had a year to remember both on and off the pitch.

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Although Albion’s dreams of Premier League promotion were dashed by Southampton in the Championship play-off semi-finals in May, Baggies academy graduate Palmer firmly established himself as number one between the sticks at the Hawthorns.

The 27-year-old featured in each of Albion’s 46 league fixtures and ended the campaign with the Championship Golden Glove with a tally of 18 clean sheets, the same amount as Leeds United shot-stopper Illan Meslier.

And after a long season reached its conclusion, Palmer jetted off to Greece to tie the knot with long-term partner Penny.

“Everyone told me to take a moment and take it all in on the day because it goes so quickly, which it did,” Palmer told the club website.

“We all had a good time, though, and it was a really special day.

“Jed Wallace came. We’re quite close off the pitch and we live in the same area. We’ve only known each other for a couple of years but we get on really well.

“It’s actually really difficult with the off season because everyone wants to go away and it was tough to gauge when we were going to finish as a result of being in the play-offs.

“Everyone has loads of different plans with their own family and friends away from football. A few of the other lads were invited, Okay (Yokuslu) being one of them but obviously he’s gone off with Turkey and they’ve done really well at the Euros which is great to see.

“It’s difficult to expect everyone to drop their plans.”

The honeymoon was spent in Kenya and even then, a kickabout still found its way onto the schedule.

“Playing football with the local kids was probably one of my highlights,” he revealed.

“You go to the local villages and it really does make you realise how lucky you are. What I would say though is that one of the biggest things I took from that experience was how happy and how smiley everyone was.

“They were asking so many questions and they wanted to know so much. They were so enthusiastic and I had to be told to leave to head back because we were on a schedule.

“It was a really special experience and I am so thankful they let us experience their culture.”

Now, focus returns to football with Palmer back in training as Albion prepare for their first pre-season fixture against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

And after a summer in the sunshine, Palmer has quickly got back into the swing of things in the West Midlands.

“The first part of pre-season has been tough. I thinking having such a good summer, pre-season brings you back to earth pretty quickly,” he admitted.

“However, seeing the lads, getting back out on the grass, doing all the stuff with Marcos (Abad), the goalkeeper coach, and getting into sessions with Josh (Griffiths) and Ted (Cann), you really do get back into the swing of things pretty quickly.

“It’s been really enjoyable so far but once the games start you know you’re getting closer to the start of the season.

“We’ve obviously had the fixtures too and it’s a tough start for us on paper, but we’re all really looking forward to the season starting.”