Oscar Garcia today praised Rohan Ince, after he earned a new long-term contract with the club, but has also warned Albion’s young midfielder he now faces a tougher challenge to maintain his place in the team.
The Seagulls boss said, “I am very happy he has signed this new contract, because our young players are the future of this club.
“Rohan took his chance, but now he has to keep doing well because the most difficult thing is to keep his place in the team.
“It is a difficult stage for any player. When I was at Barcelona at that age I had to go out on loan to become a first-team player first, but then it was even more difficult for me to stay in the first team.”
The Seagulls head coach also explained his thinking behind converting Ince from a central defender to a midfielder during pre-season.
“I saw his abilities in pre-season, we had a lot of injured players in midfield and I wanted to see him playing there. It was simple, he went in there and played very well.
“I like to work with younger players, players that want to improve, and he is one of those players.”
Meanwhile, Oscar has praised outgoing striker Ashley Barnes for his attitude and hard work this season and wished him well for the future – and admitted the next step is to bring in a replacement.
He added, “I am very proud to have been Ashley’s coach and see him develop as a player. He was one of the top three or four players in terms of minutes this season and he was an important player for us.
“He always worked hard for the team, he’s always thinking of the team before himself and, for a coach, it’s always an important type of player to have because it sets a good example for everybody.
“We will miss his character and his hard work but we now need to bring in a replacement for him. I have said before, if someone leaves we have to replace them and that is the case with Ashley.
“He has been a good servant to the club and these things sometimes happen in football; he had a good opportunity and I wish him all the best.”
Albion v Birmingham at the Amex this Saturday. Tickets available online, via the Albion Booking Line on 0844 327 1901 or at the Amex Stadium ticket office.