Left-back Marek Cech has given West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray a selection headache after his superb performance against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, but the Albion boss couldn’t be more delighted.
The Slovakian defender has had to be patient since arriving at The Hawthorns in the summer in a £1.4million move from Porto.
He had made just one start in the league, and that was on the right hand side of midfield on the opening day of the season, but was given a start at his usual position at left-back against Spurs due to Paul Robinson’s suspension.
Cech was outstanding, playing a big part in both of Albion’s goals in the 2-0 victory and although the long-serving Robinson is set to return, Mowbray admits he now has some serious competition for a starting place.
“It was the first time he had played in the position we had bought him for and I was delighted for him that he came in and had such a big impact,” Mowbray said.
“He is an international left-back and his performance will keep Paul Robinson on his toes. Paul’s standards have been very high this year and his personality around the place has been very positive.
“Yet when Marek was asked to step in and do a job he showed what a quality footballer he is. I am delighted he played his part in the team winning the game.”
The timing of Cech’s performance could not have come at a better time as he has admitted he was considering his future at Albion and was growing frustrated with his lack of opportunities.
“It has been a bit frustrating because I’ve played for Porto, I’ve played for Sparta Prague and I’ve been a champion wherever I’ve played,” he said.
“I’ve not played at West Brom and I was unhappy here because I was on the bench but that’s normal for a footballer – I wouldn’t be professional if that wasn’t the case.
“I am an international player and we are top of the World Cup qualifying group. If I don’t play here I won’t play for the national team, which is a big thing for me.
“Nobody wants to sit on the bench and I did consider moving. I chose this club because I was told I would play regularly. I always dream I play every game and that I’ll be most important player.
“The chairman (Jeremy Peace) was in the meeting at Porto when I was signing the contract and it was guaranteed with the coach (Mowbray) that I would play but the situation has changed.
“I don’t blame anybody for that but I pushed myself in the hope something changes – either I play or I go.
“I spoke with the manager and I agree that his decision is final and that I must deal with that.”
Even if he still has to play second fiddle to Robinson, Cech is unlikely to be allowed to leave as another left-sided defender, Neil Clement, was ruled out for the rest of the season yesterday.
Albion’s longest serving current player has not played this season since sustaining knee ligament damage in the club’s final pre-season friendly against Real Mallorca and Mowbray confirmed he is not expected back until the summer.
Striker Ishmael Miller has also been ruled out for the season because of a knee injury and is set to undergo surgery on his cruciate ligament within the next week.
“He is going to come back into training to build himself up for that operation,” Mowbray confirmed.