ALAN Irvine is relishing the options new signing Cristian Gamboa will give him – but says it is unlikely he will see competitive action for Albion until after the first international break in early September.
The Costa Rica World Cup star finally arrived in England at the end of last week following a long wait for his visa.
And, after his fitness was assessed by the sports science team, Irvine is confident the versatile right-sided player will quickly get up to speed.
“I think he can play as a right-back, a right wing-back and probably as a right midfield player,” said the Baggies boss.
“Those would be the areas where I see him playing.
“On Monday he joined in the technical part of the session so he did the warm-up with the fitness coach, then the technical warm-up with the lads.
“At that point he went out of it. Yesterday he did a bit more. He did the warm-up, the technical part, did some possession and joined in some shape work that we did.
“But before the game we took him out because we don't think he's ready to take part in a training match yet.
“We will drip him in gradually.
“He's a good athlete.
“Physically he will get up to speed quickly but he's behind it at the moment, obviously because he's done little training since the World Cup.
“So he's got a bit to do yet.
“He won't be involved this weekend and it might be a big ask for him to be involved in the game at Swansea.
“So we're probably looking at him coming back after the international break.
“Interestingly his next games might come at international level initially because Costa Rica have a couple.
“I will speak to his national coach Paolo Wanchope and let him know where Cristian is at the moment.
“Obviously it's a big decision for Paolo to include him and, if he doesn’t, then it would be better for Cristian to stay here - but it's Paolo's decision.”