Football is a game of opinion. Forty-eight hours ago Jayson Molumby was a Brighton reserve, seeking a third loan move in as many seasons to jolt a career that has only shown flashes of his ability.
As the transfer window began to close, Molumby held his nerve to secure a switch to Championship contenders West Bromwich Albion.
Going from the sunny south coast to the west midlands works for Stephen Kenny as much as it does the 22-year-old. Leaving Aaron Connolly and Shane Duffy behind at Brighton would take him out of the Republic of Ireland manager’s line of sight if Callum Robinson and Dara O’Shea were not shining at the Hawthorns.
“It was quite a late one, really,” said Molumby before catching a flight to the Algarve ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier. “Just this week it started to escalate over a few days and as soon as West Brom were in touch, I was delighted and really eager to jump in on that one.”
The new club ticks every box. WBA are steaming back towards the top flight with O’Shea and Robinson, before Covid laid him out for a second time in 12 months, scoring goals for fun. That’s right, O’Shea has two to Robinson’s three as the young Dubliner wades up from centre half to poach off corners.
Molumby is a central midfielder, not so much water carrier, nor number 10, but a mixture of both.
“Jayson is the perfect example of a player who has the right mentality and suits our philosophy,” said West Brom manager Valérien Ismaël. “His skills out of possession are incredible.”
When asked about the advice Molumby sought from his other managers, he mentioned constant interaction with Kenny but no conversations with Brighton boss Graham Potter.
“I think he’s probably got a lot busier things to do, he’s got a lot of the lads in the squad he needs to look after.”
At least Ismaël was compelled to add, “I’m delighted to have him. He gives us more volume and more possibilities in midfield.”
Sounds like the season-long loan can transform into a new beginning after five years at Brighton. What’s more he is a proven performer in the Championship, he knows the terrain.
“It’s a game of opinions,” Molumby wisely surmised about falling out of favour at Millwall and Brighton. “I feel like I’ve made the right decision.”
A year ago he was just another talented midfielder trying to avoid the ever widening cracks caused by hopping from club to club. He also had 10 caps at under-21, all under Kenny, but a run on Wednesday against Portugal equals that number as a senior international.
Establishing yourself while Ireland lose 1-0 to Luxembourg in an empty Aviva Stadium is not really establishing yourself at all. Not with Qatar 2022 becoming a near impossibility before it was ever a stated goal.
“Football is a crazy game, I’ve probably realised that myself over the past year, it really is a crazy game and anything can happen.
“Look, we’re really determined to go out and put on good performances in the next games. We’re well aware that it’s down to us as players to hopefully go out and perform. I think that I’ve learned a lot but feel there’s a lot more that I can do better.
“I feel I’m better than what I’ve shown. I feel last season I was restricted with game-time. I was going into some international matches not being 100 per cent fit. But I feel that in the future I can offer a lot more. I believe that I can going forward.”
Being such a sensible talker the temptation to bring him into the anti-vaccine conversation that pinballs around English football proved too much to ignore.
“No, I don’t fancy answering a question like that because it’s irrelevant to my situation and what I’m meant to be focusing on,” he politely responded. “I’m not a politician or anything so I’m probably the wrong person to ask about that.”
It proves difficult to communicate with Irish players, and not insult them, when mentioning this Portugal squad. “Damage limitation” is mentioned in a question about tactics.
“That’s not the mentality I was brought up with anyway. I don’t think that is really an Irish mentality either to be honest. That is the first I have heard of that. It will be special to play against the best players in the world and give everything for Ireland.”
Perception is changeable.