Wednesday 18 September 2019

James Chester desperate for West Brom chance to boost Wales prospects

Defender James Chester believes a lack of first-team football at West Brom is damaging his Euro 2016 ambitions with Wales
Defender James Chester believes a lack of first-team football at West Brom is damaging his Euro 2016 ambitions with Wales

Wales defender James Chester admits his Euro 2016 ambitions are suffering by being out in the cold at West Brom.

Chester was tasked with stopping a rampaging Arjen Robben in Cardiff on Friday as the Bayern Munich star scored twice in Holland's 3-2 friendly victory.

But Chester has made only one Barclays Premier League start since joining West Brom for a fee which could rise to £8million, against Manchester City on the opening weekend of the season, and raised question marks about his Albion future by saying he's not "one who likes to sit and watch".

"To be playing for Wales I have to start playing for my club because it's impossible to play at this level and not be playing week in, week out," Chester said.

"I know myself I need to be playing at my club to give me the best chance of going to France and playing when we get there.

"I don't think it's good enough to be playing for Wales when I'm not playing for West Brom.

"It's nearly impossible to not play every week and then expect to be 100 per cent to stop players of Robben and (Wesley) Sneijder's class - and that's the level we will play in France in every game.

"(Wales manager) Chris Coleman has been brilliant to me and that's nice to hear, so it's up to me to go back to West Brom and play. But I'm finding it difficult."

Former Manchester United trainee Chester was promoted into the Premier League with Hull and had two seasons in the top flight before joining West Brom last summer in the wake of the Tigers' relegation.

The 26-year-old was part of a three-man central defence at Hull and also with Wales, playing a key role as Coleman's side qualified for the European Championship next summer, but his rare Albion appearances under Tony Pulis have come at right-back.

"When I signed (Pulis) said he knew I could play at centre-back but he wanted to use me at full-back," Chester said.

"I don't really have a problem with that as long as I'm playing in the Premier League, which is where I want to be.

"I think the disappointing part for me is I played the first game of the season and I think I showed enough, with hard work and playing there regularly, that is something I could become quite good at.

"But to only give me one opportunity there I find it quite difficult to understand."

Chester, the most expensive defender in Albion's history, revealed he spoke to Pulis in October to enquire what he had to do to get back in the first team at the Hawthorns.

"He said he understood it was a new club and a new position and we had some work to do," Chester said.

"But up to the part of speaking to him I hadn't done much work regarding playing right-back.

"I asked him how I would get back if not doing the things he said to me.

"I'm trying to stay professional and keep myself right for when I get the chance, because when I get there I feel I'm good enough to stay in the team."

Asked if he would look elsewhere in the January transfer window, Chester replied: "I'm 12 games into a four-year contract, but I'm not one who likes to sit and watch.

"I want to play and I thought I was coming to West Brom to play in the Premier League.

"Hindsight's a wonderful thing and you see how Hull are doing at the start of the season, and I had other options which makes the situation a little more difficult."

PA Media

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