David Weir, Albion’s pathway development manager, has given an in-depth insight into how Albion’s young players fared on loan this season.
The former Rangers and Scotland defender was hugely impressed by a number of Albion players who cut their teeth in the game away from the Amex across the EFL and in Europe.
Ben White – Leeds United, 46 league appearances (finished 1st in the Championship)
“Ben played every minute, which is really impressive. Like Christian Walton he has come through and played at different levels and matched the level expected of him. He has stood out in the Championship – he has continued to improve at a gradual rate. Now he has to come back to us and prove that he is a Premier League player.
“He has shown that he is good enough to be promoted out of the Championship and be consistent.”
Jayson Molumby – Millwall, 36 league appearances (finished 8th in the Championship)
“It was his first loan, so to go straight into the Championship was a big step. The manager when he got there was Neil Harris and Jayson was in his team and he contributed really well.
“Neil left and Gary Rowett came in and Jason was still a big part of the team and he played a high percentage of games for Millwall in a really successful season for them. They nearly reached the play-offs which shows you how well they did.”
Matt Clarke – Derby County, 35 league appearances (finished 10th in the Championship)
“It was a disappointing end for Derby not to reach the play-offs, Matt had a stop-start beginning there because of injury. As the season progressed he got better and better and he made himself a permanent fixture in the team. They had a strong finish to the season and Matt was a big factor in that.
“He has really developed as a player. It was his first full season in the Championship which is an excellent level and he finished it off by being their Player of the Season which says it all in terms of how well he did.”
Christian Walton – Blackburn Rovers, 46 league appearances (finished 11th in the Championship)
“He played every minute of Championship football for them and had some really good experiences. Christian has had a number of successful loans and he has adapted well to so many different situations with each club that he has played for.
“He did really well again last season. Ultimately it was a disappointment for Blackburn not to get into the play-offs, but overall it was a strong season for them and Christian contributed a lot to that.
“He has shown he is more than capable of playing at Championship level consistently. The expectation for him now will be to come in to see how he fairs against the other goalkeepers here.”
Jan Mlakar – QPR and Wigan Athletic, seven league appearances (finished 13th and 23rd in the Championship)
“He had a really difficult season in terms of getting minutes he would have liked. The key thing for Jan this coming season is getting minutes and to be playing regularly.”
Robert Sanchez - Rochdale, 26 league appearances (finished 18th in League One)
"He did very well, he played a vast majority of the minutes and had played in League Two the season before. That’s a progression for him and he has definitely developed, he’s been asked to do some different things at Rochdale and that’s the challenge he had.
"He has got some great attributes and now he has got 50-odd games under his belt. He is showing some great signs of becoming a really good goalkeeper."
Max Sanders – AFC Wimbledon, 20 league appearances (finished 20th in League One)
“It was his first loan and he went to a team that were in a bit of a relegation fight, so there is a lot of emphasis on getting points from each game which took Max a little while to adapt to. But after that period of adaptation, he got himself into the team and finished the season really strongly.
“It was a really beneficial loan for him and I think he will have learned lots of lessons and will have definitely improved from that experience. What happens next is up to him.”
Percy Tau – Club Bruges, 18 league appearances (finished 1st in Jupiler Pro League)
“He had a successful year, and Bruges are a big club. They were in the Champions League, they got to the Belgium Cup Final, they won the Belgian League. They played against Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Galatasaray, so they had a lot of really tough games and they had to rotate their squad quite a bit.
“Percy showed some great signs, some great attributes and real flashes of top level play. It was a great experience for him to play at that level and especially in European games. He was competing against some excellent players within that team but he has clearly demonstrated he is capable of playing at a really high level.”
Leo Ostigard and Viktor Gyokeres – St Pauli, 28 and 26 league appearances (finished 14th in 2. Budesliga)
“The German second division is a really tough league, St Pauli are a big club. Although their season wasn’t as successful as they probably wanted it to be – they ended up in lower mid-table – those two individually did really well.
“Leo took a little while to get into the team because of injury but he became a mainstay and was probably their best performer throughout the season in terms of consistency.
“Viktor was more in and out of the team, but he still contributed with assists and goals. He played about 60% of the league minutes and he had a really high output. It was disappointing for him not to play more, but I think when he analyses the season he can be really happy with his involvement and his personal development playing at that level.”