West Brom winger has offered up a few impressive cameos since joining Albion on loan – but he is yet to start a game
Carlos Corberan has delivered an in-depth explanation as to why Jeremy Sarmiento is still waiting for his first West Bromwich Albion start since arriving on loan from Brighton in the summer. The winger has excited supporters during his Championship cameos and has even fired his first senior goal, in the recent 4-2 win over Middlesbrough at The Hawthorns.
Competition for places is stiff enough in this 3-4-3 system; Corberan is utilising Matt Phillips as a wing-back currently, while John Swift has nailed a spot down and faith is being kept with Corberan’s new captain Jed Wallace who has, to date, struggled to replicate the form he enjoyed this time last season.
With Grady Diangana also now back in the frame after a seven-month injury layoff, Corberan has numerous options when selecting his teams. With Sarmiento, though, he’ll continue to be handled relatively carefully after a 2023 so far of heavily restricted minutes at his parent club, followed by a serious injury in March which ended his season prematurely.
“Jeremy is a different player who didn’t play many minutes in a row before he came to us,” Corberan assessed. “The one because he was with Brighton on the bench without playing, and he started only twice, in the cup games, but in the normal games he was used from only minute 80 in the game.
“From January until March this year, he played bits of minutes some games from the bench. From March he had an injury which didn’t allow him to compete. This injury was managed, and still has been in the summer, that’s why he couldn’t make a normal pre-season. Then Brighton moved him here.
“You have a player who doesn’t have the habit in a year to play. Josh Maja has the habit of the previous season to play every game. In Jeremy you have the lack of habit, and that’s why he is here. When a Premier League club loans you a player there is one level of preparation you need to do with the player. If he was now perfect, he would be playing in the Premier League, but there are things on which we need to work.
“The good thing is that the mentality of Jeremy is excellent. He has a high level of determination to be an important player and to get to the player where he wants to be. Before the international break, I had one target – not to lose Jeremy in any of the training or games. One player who didn’t play a lot in the previous year and then was four months injured, you are not going to change this quickly.
“If you accelerate this process, you are going to lose this player that you want to have. At the same time, he is not ready to make more. Still, he must get the habit to play more minutes. How you can get the habit? That’s the challenge. Playing and playing and playing without the worry of whether he performs or not? Performances affect results and here we need results here. So Jeremy must achieve this in training.”
Corberan understands the clamour for Sarmiento to start, but explained that – while more minutes are in the pipeline – his style of play tends to be quite draining. That was evident when his squad played an inter-club friendly at The Hawthorns during the international break and Sarmiento tired in the middle of the match.
“In the week before Huddersfield I said I saw an improvement in his performance level in training,” Corberan reflected. “The game we did before the weekend off, in this game we played three 30 minutes and he was suffering in the middle 30, but we achieved the target to complete this. We have made one important step – psychological and physical.
“How Jeremy plays demands one level of energy that he must expend, that others don’t. If you analyse Jeremy’s actions, every action has a lot of contact with the ball, a lot of movement with the opponent and a lot of dribbling. Someone told me the other day that he was one player who has made the most dribbles in the whole competition. If you see the minutes, say how in those minutes he can be a player with that level of dribbles?
“Jeremy in every action expends a lot of energy, because he does many things in one action. What happens is that this has a price, too – an increase in fatigue of the player. To sustain his normal actions is a process he must adapt. Not every action can be the last action, otherwise you cannot play the minutes. You can make attacking actions, but then you’re not ready to defend. This is a transition process we need to do.
“I understand that only me and my staff are aware of this. The football people do not buy tickets to be aware of this, but if you ask me for an explanation I must give you an explanation.”