West Brom manager Slaven Bilic confirms 'present and future of the club' Dara O'Shea has been offered a new contract

Tue, Jan 14 2020

O'Shea is action for Ireland under-21s against Luxembourg in 2019. Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed the English Championship leaders have offered a new contract to Republic of Ireland under-21 defender Dara O’Shea.

The former St Kevin’s Boys schoolboy has had a breakthrough season at the Hawthorns after impressing on loan with Hereford and Exeter City last year.

20-year-old O’Shea made his senior league bow as a substitute against Brentford last month and impressed from the start in the Baggies’ FA Cup win over Charlton Athletic.

Bilic opted not to sign an experienced defender to replace the departed Craig Dawson and Mason Holgate in the summer and instead put his faith in the young centre-half’s potential.

And the Croatian has confirmed the club have moved to tie down the Terenure native to a longer-term deal as he continues to push for more regular involvement with the promotion favourites.

“He has been offered a new contract, definitely,” Bilic confirmed to local journalists.

“I have said from the start, from July, that he is the present and the future of the club. I love Dara O’Shea. We all love him. But forget how nice he is as a kid, I love Dara as a football player.

“In the summer, we lost three players in that position – (Craig) Dawson, (Mason) Holgate and (Tosin) Adarabioyo plus (Ahmed) Hegazi had surgery.

“But we only brought in one. The club wanted to bring in more, and the only reason we didn’t was Dara.

“From day one, he showed dedication, motivation, readiness to learn and, more than anything, potential and quality.”

O’Shea was deployed at right-back against Charlton in the absence of the injured Nathan Ferguson and rested Darnell Furlong and impressed the former West Ham United coach with his versatility.

“We wanted to test him in that right-back position,” the head coach added. “With the injury to Nathan that position has become a bit more fragile – or not as secure.

“I had no doubts but you still have to see him there. It was only theory, it was only I think you can do it but he proved us right.”