The assist can be a great way to recognise what might otherwise have been an unsung role in a goal.

Pascal Gross scored Albion’s first two goals in the Premier League and two winners at home to Manchester United.

But the German playmaker is best known for his assists – 25 of them in total in the Premier League as things stand.

That is likely to be how he goes down in Seagulls folklore, as a creator.

The assist can also be a very harsh metric.

Ask Alexis Mac Allister, who got no official credit for his pinpoint corner which led to Dan Burn scoring at Everton.

Or Leandro Trossard, whose dummy for Neal Maupay to score at West Brom will not have registered.

Or Gross again. His free-kick delivery in the second half at West Brom was, as they say in some countries, half a goal.

But Shane Duffy volleyed the ball over from close range.


His chipped pass under pressure from midfield to release Danny Welbeck was not bad either – but Welbeck was denied by David Button.

Those deliveries, especially the set-piece from wide on the left, were as good as anything Gross has delivered in a goal-making role since arriving from Ingolstadt in 2017.

They were also timely, just as questions were asked about what the future seems to hold as the guard appears to change in midfield.

Gross has two assists in the Prem this season but for once is not leading the way.

Both Jakub Moder and Enock Mwepu have overhauled him in recent weeks.

Moder and Mac Allister are emerging as the midfielders who can add goal threat.

Meanwhile Gross is out of contract at the end of the season.

That, of course, dependent on any performance-related clauses which might kick in and keep him with Albion for a sixth season.

Gross is currently on 25 Prem assists and, with ten starts at the halfway stage, is on track to come up just short of what he has done in recent campaigns.

But he appears to be a model pro and the impression from outside is he will have a big role to play, even if he is not starting league matches regularly.

Asked as much by The Argus, Potter said: “He has a really important role.

“He is an important part of the team and the group.

“We know his qualities. He never lets you down.

“A fantastic professional. Ready to play, always ready to help the team, support the team, so he is someone you would want around.”

Is that a role which can be played beyond the end of the season?

Potter replied: “In football you never know what the situation is but I have huge respect for Pascal for what he has done for us, for what he has done for the club and for what he has done for me personally in terms of how he has supported me and how he has supported the team while I have been here. He has been fantastic.”

That was on Thursday lunchtime. By Saturday evening, Gross should have had an assist or two to his name and had put in a solid, selfless effort in midfield, then out wide.

His stamina has never been in question and he was getting up and down the flank late in the two-hour cup tie.

Potter was asked about him again, partly in relation to a new contract.

He said: “Every situation is different but from my perspective Pascal, as I said in the pre-match conference, has been brilliant for me, brilliant for the club, fantastic signing that has helped the club stabilise in the Premier League.

“Since he has been with me he has been so professional, open-minded, adaptable, willing to learn and willing to help his teammates.

“He is a top guy, our job is to help him enjoy his football, continue to feel part of the group here and have a role here and then we will see.”

Gross ranks 11th for league minutes played in the Albion squad so far this term compared to seventh last season.

He was third in that debut 2017-18 campaign.

Changing times - but Gross’s Albion years, however long they last, should be seen about more than just numbers.