West Bromwich Albion were held to a stalemate in their opening game of the season, drawing 1-1 at Middlesbrough on Saturday evening and Dara O’Shea put in a solid performance to keep the hosts at bay. The 23-year-old started alongside Semi Ajayi at the Riverside Stadium, keeping Kyle Bartley on the bench, and he more than vindicated Steve Bruce’s faith.

O’Shea had more touches, won more aerial duels, made more clearances, blocked more shots and made more passes than any West Brom player, so he deserved the plaudits. The Republic of Ireland international helped to limit Middlesbrough to only two shots on target over the 90 minutes, sacrificing his body for the cause.

Against Boro, O’Shea had 67 touches, won four aerial duels, completed 80% of his 40 passes, made two tackles, blocked three shots and had one interception. Read West Brom predicted Kyle Bartley would start ahead of the 23-year-old, but Bruce thought otherwise and was rewarded for it. O’Shea struggled for playing time in 2021/22 due to injury but could be a regular if he stays fit.

Performances like Saturday’s will keep him in the team, so he’ll hope to impress when West Brom face Watford on Monday.

In other news, Semi Ajayi shone v Middlesbrough