Gary Walsh was on duty at The Hawthorns today after agreeing to become Albion’s new Goalkeeping Coach.
The former Manchester United and Middlesbrough stopper, who also played alongside Baggies boss Darren Moore at Bradford City, took up his role prior to Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with Norwich City.
Walsh, who arrives at The Hawthorns with a wealth of experience, began his coaching career while still a player at Wigan, before taking on the role at Derby, Hartlepool, Hull and Villa, where last season he worked with current Albion keeper Sam Johnstone.
The 50-year-old replaces Neil Cutler who departed The Hawthorns in November to join Aston Villa.
Gary will now get down to working with Albion’s senior group of keepers of Johnstone, Boaz Myhill, Jonathan Bond and Alex Palmer.
“I’ve only had a couple of sessions but I’m impressed with all four,” says Gary, whose early start at Manchester United began a 21-year playing career which featured a successful promotion campaign behind a certain centre-half named Darren Moore at Bradford.
“Sam has grown and grown since coming down from Manchester United first to Villa and now with Albion. Boaz is Boaz - and Albion are fortunate to still have him. He wasn’t well when I trained with him but he’s got himself very fit, he’s very committed and he’s still got that hunger.
“I tried to get ‘Bondy’ while working at Hull and I was impressed with young Alex too. He completes a strong four.”
Gary is determined to put his own stamp on the goalkeeping section and cites high tempo training as his recipe for success.
He added: “We want to get back to the Premier League and we’ve got to work at a high tempo which reflects that level. That’s the way I’ve always done it.”
Head Coach Darren Moore said: “Gary was an obvious choice to take up the role. He has vast experience and know-how and has worked at the top levels in the game.
“He obviously knows Sam well from working together at Aston Villa but he also knows Boaz well and once tried to take ‘Bondy’ to Hull in a previous job.
“We’re very happy to have him join us and he will be a valuable addition to the coaching team.
“I must also pay tribute to Mark Naylor who has been nothing short of outstanding in the interim role.
“He took over at a very difficult time and kept the guys’ at the top levels required of them. ‘Nails’ always made it clear his preference was to continue his work with the development keepers but he remains an outstanding servant to this club with a skill-set which is developing all the time.”