Baleba: Even cramp couldn't stop me

Young midfielder impressed on his full Premier League debut against Liverpool on Sunday.

By Charlie Hanson • 11 October 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Carlos Baleba had a fantastic full Premier League debut against Liverpool.

Carlos Baleba was enjoying his full Premier League debut so much that even cramp couldn’t stop him.

The 19-year-old put in a wonderful performance in midfield during our 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, but his all action display caught up with him as the match reached its final throes.

“At the end of the game I was really tired,” Carlos admitted. “There was some cramp. But that did not stop me running, to run back and help defend my goal and commit a foul which enabled us to win the ball back after their free-kick.

“My first full 90 minutes went well. It was a big match for me. We got a point we needed. The Premier League is a bit of a change for me with the intensity here and the speed of the game.

“I needed to adapt more quickly but then to make my full debut was a great joy for me. I go home really happy with my performance, and especially with the performance of the team.”

Having made a summer move to Albion from Lille, one major challenge for Carlos is learning the language.

“I don’t really speak English but I’m taking lessons. I can understand people but the words don’t really come out of my mouth very well yet!

I speak more with Simon [Adingra], Ansu Fati – well, nearly all the group and they speak to me in English and I understand. I try to talk and if I don’t have the words I use a bit of sign language and we understand each other.”

Now the midfielder’s focus is on is building on his first league start.

“My aims for the rest of the season are to score my first goal and to help the team keep going forward. To show what I am capable of the people, to the fans and show what I know I can do and keep helping the team to finish as high as we can.”