JACK Fitzwater’s two loan spells during the 2017/18 campaign have proved pivotal in his transformation from “boy to man”.
The 20-year-old centre-back earned valuable experience with Forest Green Rovers and Walsall, steering the Saddlers to Sky Bet League One survival.
Fitzwater, who has previously enjoyed stints at Hednesford Town and Chesterfield, scored four goals last season – one for Forest Green and three for Walsall.
The Academy graduate has clocked up over 50 senior appearances away from The Hawthorns and is hoping that exposure can help catapult him into Darren Moore’s first-team plans.
He said: “I was out on loan at Forest Green and Walsall and I learnt a lot from my time at both clubs last season.
“I had highs and lows, but I guess that’s what the game of football is all about.
“At Forest Green I wasn’t a regular in the team. I was more of an in and out player.
“Then I managed to get a solid of run of games in and I learnt a lot. That probably stood me in good stead for my time at Walsall.
“All the games at Walsall were pressure games. Every game we were going into was either a must win or a must not lose.
“There was a lot of pressure on me, but I thought I handled it quite well and the gaffer there was happy with my performances.
“I turned from a boy to a man at Walsall.
“I’ve made plenty of senior appearances now and about 40 of those have been in the league.
“I just want to keep learning and show the gaffer what I have learnt while out on loan.
“My aim is to kick on here and make my debut in the first team.”