NEW young Albion goalkeeper Ben Pierce is determined not to let some rotten luck in his first week bar his prospects at the Club.
The Baggies have signed the 18-year-old Mancunian on a two-year professional deal after he impressed Jonathan Gould and first-team keepers Ben Foster and Boaz Myhill during trials.
But Ben will have to wait for his chance to shine after suffering a slight fracture of his fifth metatarsal in his right foot in one of his early training sessions.
It’s going to put him “on hold” for the next few weeks – but it hasn’t made a dent in Ben’s fierce determination to break through to first team level.
“Training was great and I felt really good,” he says. “But I ended up going to save a shot and rolling my ankle. The X rays showed this slight fracture so it wasn’t ideal.
“But I was chatting to Mark Naylor (Academy goalkeeping coach) afterwards about how disappointed I was with me being at a new club. But he said ‘don’t worry about that – let’s just focus on getting you fit’ and that was very reassuring.
“Hopefully it won’t be too long. I can get fit just after the start of the season ready to compete for the 23s. This is only a slight setback. I know myself I can come back stronger and better.”
Ben joins us having already gathered a stellar collection of clubs. From the age of seven – and having professed no interest in any other position than that of goalkeeper – he has been under the badges of Manchester City, Everton, Manchester United and finally Everton again where he has just completed a two-year scholarship.
Now comes his chance with Albion after senior goalkeeper coach Gould liked what he saw in trials.
“I was very impressed with him, he trained with the first team, and so were Ben and Bo. He’s got good attributes and a great attitude,” says Gould.
“This injury is just one of those things that can happen. But we can use the time valuably – we’ll get him on a schedule to build his upper body strength which will be of value to him while the foot heals.”
You can bet the youngster will also not miss a moment to watch one of his role models close up either.
“I couldn’t think of a better keeper to look up to than Ben Foster,” says Pierce. “ I have always had English keepers as my role models – I’m thinking of Joe Hart, David Seaman and Foster.
“The fact that I now have the opportunity to work at a club where one of them is the first team keeper is brilliant for me. He’s played at top, top clubs, played for England - I couldn’t think of a better keeper as a role model.”