Club News

Irvine ready to let Gamboa loose

Head coach excited by right-back's energy

CRISTIAN Gamboa is being primed for his first Barclays Premier League start this Saturday – with Alan Irvine confident the Costa Rica international can bring fresh attacking energy to his Albion side.

The 24-year-old has come off the bench in three of Albion’s top flight games so far, although he did start last week’s 3-2 Capital One Cup victory over Hull.

Andre Wisdom will be ineligible for Saturday’s game against parent club Liverpool, with Irvine confirming Gamboa will play at right-back.

Gamboa’s attributes were underlined in Sunday’s 4-0 victory against Burnley - the ex-Rosenborg man setting up Graham Dorrans’ for the Baggies’ fourth goal.

And Irvine has no intention of asking Gamboa to curb his natural, attacking, instincts.

“The good thing about Cristian is, yes he does run really quickly forward but he also runs really quickly backwards,” said Irvine. 

“I am definitely not going to be putting the reins on him.

“He can keep doing that at Anfield, that's what he does, that's what he's really good at. He was brought here to do exactly that, fly up and down that wing. 

“He has got fantastic energy and when we signed him that was one of the things I highlighted. I love full backs who can run up and down all day - that's brilliant.

“He needs to do that because it's a way of us getting up the pitch. 

“You saw it can have a great effect as well. He has shown that energy and enthusiasm every time he has come on and to be honest, you watch him every day in training and that's what he is.

“He is somebody who plays and trains with a really high intensity. If he didn't do that he would be a fraction of the player and he will be encouraged to use all that energy.

“If their attacking players are chasing Cristian then that's OK, they are going the way we would rather they are going.”