First-team coach Bruno believes Rob Sanchez is reaping the rewards for being patient in the early stages of his career.
Sanchez, currently preparing with Spain squad for their Nations League game against Czech Republic in Malaga on Sunday, established himself as Albion’s first-choice keeper this season, and has now made 64 Premier League appearances.
But Bruno says the loan spells he had at Forest Green Rovers and Rochdale earlier in his career, as well as the strong relationship he has with goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts, have been pivotal in the 24-year-old’s development.
“In a society where we are right now, where we want things quickly and sometimes immediately, it’s difficult to ask for patience,” said Bruno. “But there is a path here. Patience doesn’t mean you are passive, it means to work really hard for your chance and Rob has done that.
“He’s been away on loan and all the time Ben Roberts has been guiding him and he has had a massive part in Rob’s development and that’s why they’ve got such a good relationship.
“You can see in his case that taking the long path is the right one, because sometimes you have to go to other places to develop yourself. In Spain the second teams play in professional leagues, so the players get that exposure but in England it’s not the same, the under-23s play against the same age group and level. It’s not for me to decide if it’s better or worse, but the progression and the path is different.”
Sanchez has kept clean sheets in nearly a third (21) of his starts and earned his first Spain call-up last year, but in Premier League terms he is still relatively inexperienced and Bruno says that makes his development in the last 18 months even more impressive.
“We cannot forget that he’s not been in the Premier League for that long, it’s a process of coming to the level, adapting to it and then the hardest bit - to maintain it,” said Bruno.
“As you show how good you can be, that’s you setting the benchmark and he has been really consistent. His path hasn’t been the easiest one but you can see his level and potential. To have been a part of the process to him becoming a Spain international is great for the club.”