I’ll be honest with you, I’ve already written a player focus for Adam Webster earlier on in the season, and I didn’t post it. I must admit, I’ve been left eating a lot of words.

Webster signed for the Albion for a fee in the region of £20 million from Bristol City, and I’ll admit I was a little sceptical. The last time we spent around £20 million for a player unproven in the Premier League was Alireza Jahanbakhsh, and looked how that turned out (I’m so sorry Ali). So I was already feeling as though the decision to bring Webster in was slightly unusual, especially when the club signed Matt Clarke at a very similar time. Of course, Clarke has spent the last 2 season on loan at Derby County, and is yet to feature for the Albion. Webster has fared better in that regard, becoming a permanent feature in the back 3, something I wasn’t entirely convinced about in my unreleased post.

Earlier in the season, I suggested that Adam Webster was the weak link of our defence, overshadow by the class of Lewis Dunk and the huge promise of Ben White. I felt as though when he carried the ball out, his decision making was poor. I had noticed that he often ran into dead-ends and give the ball away around the half-way line, whilst he was left out of position. Defensively, he was still solid, but I wasn’t sure he was 20x better than Joel Veltman, which the price tag suggested. Of course, it’s naïve to assume that price tag is directly proportional to ability, but it was hard to justify Veltman’s exclusion from the defensive line-up when Webster seemed as though he was the problem.

I wasn’t the only one, either. Multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter seemed to reiterate the same point; Webster isn’t good enough. It did get to a point where defendants for Adam Webster believed he was receiving the same treatment as former Albion midfielder Dale Stephens; they believed Webster was being made a scapegoat for Brighton’s poor performances. This was potentially why I never posted my original player focus for Webster, because I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire. I decided I would be patient, and wait until halfway through the season to make my mind up about the player.

And I’m glad I did.

Adam Webster is a reformed defender. His decision making is now second to none in that back line; he brings the ball out with such composure and, when he does look for a pass at the end of it, he inevitably finds it. There were never any real complaints about his defensive ability, but clearly Potter requires confident ball-playing centre backs to execute his style of play, and Brighton may have found a hidden gem in Webster, who, according to multiple news outlets, is starting to create murmurs in the England coaching staff.

Another issue I had with Webster was his lack of leadership. After Dunk was suspended for 3 games, Potter handed the armband to Webster, which, at the time, I was surprised about. Up to that point, I hadn’t seen enough passion and desire from Adam to warrant him being interim captain. I thought he was a more conserved character, similar to Ben White, who would struggle to motivate a team to get a victory. And I still believe I was right those months ago. However, he has completely turned his attitude around. The moment I realised this was the 92nd minute of the win against Liverpool at Anfield. The camera panned to Webster, and he was barking at the side, seemingly telling the team to focus and ‘switch on’ for the final two minutes of the game. I had never seen him so animated, and it was at the moment, I decided that £20 million was more than justified for a player like him.

Four clean sheets in a row, and a stand-out Man of the Match performance at Anfield, just emphasises this fact. Webster was in charge of marshalling Mohamed Salah, the top scorer in the Premier League, and bar a long ball over the top in the 3rd minute of the game, Webster dominated the Egyptian from there on after. Of course, Dan Burn assisted him adequately throughout, but the importance of Webster’s challenges were paramount to Brighton’s success; the clearance from Firmino after Thiago’s dinked free kick, and the sliding challenge on Salah in the penalty area assured Brighton fans experienced an evening in which we could have only dreamed of.

My hope is that we haven’t seen the best of Adam Webster, and that he, alongside Lewis Dunk, Ben White, and the ever-impressive Robert Sanchez, can steer us further away from relegation, and steer us into a potential top-half finish (optimistic I know). But hey, we’ve just won at Anfield. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, could happen.