I found West Brom’s missing piece of the transfer window right under my….

I found West Brom’s missing piece of the transfer window right under my nose

Cedric Kipre has come a long way since the opening weekend at Blackburn in Au

gust – the defender has made himself crucial to West Brom

Your heart sank when Carlos Corberan addressed the limping off of Cedric Kipre in West Brom’s recent win over QPR. As that elderly west country lady in the famous video clip says – ‘Not another one?’ Having to cope without a host of important players at it was, Kipre’s looked about as serious as any of his teammates’

The prognosis was that it’d be weeks, minimum. The planned scan might’ve confirmed an even more sinister issue. As it was, unfathomably, Kipre lined up six days later and played 90 minutes. Relief washed over the Albion fanbase, as I’m sure it did for Corberan and his coaching staff.

Now, not many Albion supporters would have taken those two opening paragraphs seriously if they had been read quickly after the season’s opening weekend at Blackburn in August. They presented the idea that Kipre had become an indispensable player, a vital part of the defense that had undergone a transformation, and a player who started as many attacks as he stopped.

Blackburn was a rough day at work, for sure, but many Albion supporters had written Kipre off after that first half because they had little to go on about him before then, aside from multiple assurances from their Cardiff counterparts who gushed about his season in Wales. Corberan, in his wisdom, persisted with him, having seen the bigger picture. In doing so, he has discovered a key player right under his nose.

He clarified, “We were analyzing every game he played in the previous year and we discovered that one player—despite making some errors—had some behaviors that are difficult to find.” “He is a player that when we lost Dara O’Shea, he was an option that we had in the squad with our market restrictions. With his behaviours, there were things I liked a lot in him.

“He was playing in a line of five and line of four last year and he was feeling comfortable in both. First and foremost, as a team, we wanted to be able to play in either a line of four or five and feel comfortable in both.

“The second thing, he can play on the right side or on the left side in the line of four. Last year he played even more games on the left of a line of four than the right. When you only have Pieters as the left-footed player it is necessary to have another one.

“To have one right-footed player who can feel comfortable on the left was another important point for us. He is one player with experience in the Championship, but maybe with a lack of positive consistency behaviours.”

Concentration has been the challenge for Kipre, according to Corberan. His talent, with the ball at his feet, is not in question whatsoever; we’ve seen him ping balls out to the flanks from deep as if he’s Paul Scholes, mostly perfectly measured, always looking effortless. Ensuring he doesn’t switch off, as he did at Blackburn, is key.

That is happening less and less. The consensus of opinion on Kipre has been transformed and, to his credit, it’s entirely his own doing. Intent on making things a success at the club, he has made himself one of the most important players in the starting XI. Not that that will surprise anybody who watched him regularly last season.

“Ask the fans of Cardiff how pleased they would be to keep him, because he was one important player last year in difficult moments,” Corberan added. “He was a very interesting player for us to work and adapt him to ideas and how we see football, what we want to find in our players.

“He’s a good player and has adapted well to our ideas. Is he perfect? No. It means we keep working with him for him to keep improving more, so everyone can grow, that’s the process. As a guy he’s a lovely human being and someone that has the right mentality, and that’s the positive too.”

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