Over the past few years, the Premier League has been flooded with a slew of new talent. Many of the top-flight clubs are brimming with excellent academies and managers are prepared to take a gamble and give the youngsters a chance to prove their worth. Among the exciting English players that have exploded onto the scene is Brighton right-back Tariq Lamptey.
Having only joined the Seagulls from Chelsea in January, Lamptey has been an ever-present feature in Graham Potter’s starting XI this term and the sky is the limit for him. A profusion of pundits, including Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville, have been quick to single him out for praise. But just how good is Lamptey and is Brighton the perfect launchpad for his career?
Lamptey has enjoyed a meteoric rise and judging by his performances so far this campaign, it is not hard to see why. Despite his slender frame and low centre of gravity, the 19-year-old is lightning quick going forward. When you ally his pace with his composure on the ball, the nascent signs are promising.
Against Newcastle, he was influential at both ends of the pitch. Aside from earning a penalty for his team in the 3-0 victory at St James’ Park last month, he made more interceptions (four) and won more fouls (four) than any other player on the pitch. He also won a penalty for his side in the 3-2 defeat at home to Manchester United and he boasts a swashbuckling style.
Although Brighton are still awaiting their first clean sheet this season, Lamptey thrives linking play when his side are on the attack and he has averaged 33 passes per match. Also, Lamptey is unfazed by what is going on around him and it is an admirable trait for a young player to be so level-headed. Carragher has taken to profess his love for Lamptey on Twitter, while Neville is delighted to see Lamptey’s emergence, but Lamptey is certainly not getting carried away.
When asked for his thoughts on the rave reviews he has received to date, Lamptey said: “It’s just great to get high praise from such fantastic ex-players.”I appreciate all the praise and I’m thankful for it but I have to keep working and keep focusing and putting in good performances for the team.”
Before Lamptey signed for Brighton, there were a cluster of clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Wolves, that were keeping tabs. Brighton’s £3million deal looked like an absolute steal and Lamptey has been equipped with all the tools to succeed on the South Coast.
More intriguingly, there has been a flurry of transfer speculation already linking Lamptey with a move away from Brighton. Over the past week, Bayern Munich have been mooted as potential suitors and he has caught their eye with his fine form. Indeed, Lamptey is being lined up by the Bundesliga giants as cover for first choice Benjamin Pavard.
Lamptey has only just started his footballing journey. But when you are linked to Bayern Munich, there should be a sense of pride that you are making all the right noises and attracting the attention of one of Europe’s powerhouses. As far as Chelsea are concerned, they may well end up rue letting Lamptey leave.
Potter though has emphasised the need not to put too much undue pressure on Lamptey.
He said: “It’s part of the noise of the Premier League, it’s part of the show but at the same time we have to understand where he’s at as a young man, a young boy learning his game at the highest level. We need to support him and make sure he’s able to enjoy his football.”
To a certain extent, Lamptey’s rise to prominence has come at perhaps an unfortunate time for Gareth Southgate who has an embarrassment of riches at right-back. When you factor in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Kyle Walker and Reece James who all have designs on cementing the right-back position, the relatively unheralded Lamptey will be quite far down the pecking order.
So far, Lamptey has only been capped at youth level for England, but he is eligible to represent Ghana. As far as England are concerned, the competition at right-back is very healthy and Lamptey has raw talent. It may be a little time before Lamptey comes into Southgate’s thinking, but arguably it is a nice problem for the England manager to have so many options at his disposal. There are probably some good fixed odds floating about on Lamptey earning at least one cap for the Three Lions.