Last time we checked in with Conor Gallagher was when West Bromwich Albion decided to change coaches, sacking (more progressive) Slaven Bilić and replacing him with Sam Allardyce and his brand of more perfunctory football. We had feared that would negatively affect the Chelsea loanee’s opportunities and development.
As it turns out, we had little reason to worry, at least as far as minutes were concerned. Gallagher has started 22 of 25 Premier League games since joining in October. While West Brom’s results haven’t really improved with the coaching change, Gallagher has at least remained a key part of their team.
And even as the Baggies head back down, the 21-year-old has had plenty of opportunities to learn. A relegation fight is certainly not something he’s ever likely to experience at Chelsea, be that in the youth teams or, should he make, in the first-team.
“Everyone throughout their careers has a lot of tough moments. You experience losing and things like that and you improve. We as young players, no matter what, will get experience from it.
“I was excited to play in the Premier League after a step up from Championship last season. I’ve loved every minute of it. Hopefully I’ll keep developing and improving. It’s been a tough season for West Brom so far, so doing the dirty side of the game, the importance of work off the ball [is important].”
Gallagher starred in half-season loan stints for Charlton Athletic and Swansea City last season in the second division, helping the latter into the promotion playoffs. They may have lost, but he himself has made the jump up, and has barely missed a beat in the top division, putting him in prime contention for a potential spot in the Chelsea midfield next season.
That certainly won’t be an easy place to win, but process is working exactly as it was intended with Gallagher thus far.
“Premier League quality will punish you if you switch off, so you need to be concentrated and focused.
“I know people have other views on players going on loan and I’ve been at three different teams, but it’s three different experiences and teams with [different] styles, different managers and players. I’ve learnt a lot already in two years. Hopefully I can continue to learn as a player.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: Goal
Currently involved with England at the U21 Euros — which is not going too great for them — Gallagher will be looking forward to bigger and better things next season, for club and country ... and maybe even Chelsea?