Defender impresses head coach
JOLEON Lescott has been hailed as a 'fantastic' addition to Albion's ranks - on and off the pitch - as he prepares for face former club Manchester City.
And Alan Irvine claims his ability to manage his fitness has been key to his performances.
The 32-year-old signed for Albion on a Bosman free transfer in the summer.
Head coach Irvine has been impressed with the centre-half's displays.
Since coming into the side in the 1-0 win at Tottenham, Lescott has pretty much been an Albion regular.
"He’s been great for us," said Irvine.
"Not just what people see on the pitch but how he is on the training ground, how he is around the dressing room – he’s fantastic.
"Obviously from having had the benefit of working with him before I knew what we wee going to get when Joleon came in. He’s really somebody that any young player should look at and think that’s how you behave as a professional footballer, that’s how you do your job. Because he understands exactly what he needs to do to make sure he gets out and performs at the right level.
"If you’re going to be successful in any sport you have to learn from the setbacks but move on. You see it any top level sport that if you dwell on what’s happened then you’ll just go down and down. How many of the top tennis players come back from being two sets down. That’s what you do. That mental toughness is a requirement if you’re going to be a top sportsman."
Lescott has also acquired the trick of how to look after himself during busy periods of the season.
With Albion facing four games in eight days, Irvine feels that will be crucial.
“He is absolutely spot on and he understands his body and when he needs to train at a really high level and when he needs to just drop things down a bit," continued Irvine.
“And we are perfectly comfortable with that. It was something I discussed with him before he even signed, that we wouldn’t be saying we expected him to train at 100 per cent every day because he is 32, he has had problems in the past so it’s vitally important he is ready.
“And that’s what training is about anyway – trying to get individuals to their top level on Boxing Day.
“I spoke to Joleon and asked him how he felt about the double-headers and straight away he said ‘fine’.
“He trains indoors from time to time. It’s not a massive secret.
“Generally Joleon will do his own ‘prehab’ and recovery sessions on a Monday and everyone is fine with that.
“He is very good, he knows his body and he’s not just having a day off.
“He’s an expert at it and it works. He knows how to do it and that’s as good as it gets in terms of players understanding what they have to do to get out there and perform at the right level.
“Joleon doesn’t see it as a big deal and we don’t either. It’s a case of doing what you should do, which is treating them as individuals who then come together as a team."