Steven Alzate is keen to pit his wits against James Rodriguez in this afternoon’s clash with Everton at Goodison Park.
The midfielder grew up watching the former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid star, and is well aware of his talents having seen them close hand for his country.
He said, “It’s another big game for us this weekend because they’ve added some top players and have started the season well.
“I’ve played with James Rodriguez with the Colombian national side and I know the qualities he has. He’s shown them this year with Everton already.
“He’s someone I watched a lot growing up as a youngster. Back at home he’s a big figure, I’m looking forward to playing against him this weekend.”
Alzate, 22, has started all three Premier League games this season.
“Playing with Yves Bissouma in midfield has been really good, and to have someone behind me like Lewis Dunk with all of his experience has been very helpful as well.
“You have to be quick-thinking in that position in the Premier League, you don’t get much time on the ball.
“When you watch on TV it can look like you do, but you’re up against world class players and you have to play quickly. I have been caught out a couple of times and I know I have to learn from those experiences.
“One of my main attributes is composure on the ball, I am quite relaxed in that respect. I want to add assists and goals to my game now and I believe if I can continue progressing then I’ll do that.”
Alzate also praised head coach Graham Potter for handing him the opportunity to make his Premier League debut last season. He was man of the match in his first game when Albion drew 0-0 at Newcastle United in September 2019.
“The boss here has been crucial to my career, he set it off and gave me my opportunity last season.
“He’s shown a lot of faith in me and other young players at the club and he’s always trying to get the best out of me.
“I’m so grateful and I’m enjoying working under him. It’s still early in the season but I think there’s more to come from us as a team. We have a long-term plan to be a top ten side and this season I believe we can realistically push towards mid table. We’ve started well, and I think things can only improve.”