West Ham United star Angelo Ogbonna has absolutely raved about new teammate Jamal Baptiste.
West Ham boss David Moyes has made it clear he wants to strengthen his defence this summer (Evening Standard).
The Hammers have been linked with the likes of Shane Duffy, John Stones and Phil Jones (Football Insider).
But they might be able to save themselves millions in the transfer market after Baptiste shone with the West Ham first team in pre-season this week.
Moyes take note as Ogbonna raves about teen sensation Baptiste
West Ham’s senior defender and runner-up Hammer of the Year Angelo Ogbonna was hugely impressed after playing alongside the 16-year-old in the 5-1 win over Wycombe.
The Italian international admitted Baptiste, who turns 17 in November, still has plenty to learn.
But he was staggered by the ability and composure the academy starlet showed saying it belied his tender years (whufc.com).
“He (Baptiste) played really, really well and as a young player you can make one or two mistakes, but your behaviour has to be the right one, like Dec (Declan Rice) when he starts,” Ogbonna told the club’s official website.
“Jamal has a lot of work still to do but he is composed. He is still young and has to take things step by step. This was just a pre-season game. He has to follow the senior players and the manager’s instruction and it’s good for him to have people he can look to.
“Having senior players around like myself, the captain [Mark Noble] and Dave [Martin] in goal can help by giving him advice and this is really, really good.”
Baptiste can save Hammers millions in transfer market
Ogbonna’s praise will not be lost on Hammers boss Moyes.
He may like his centre-backs a touch more experienced.
And Baptiste could well be in and around the first team this season. That’s if he continues to show the kind of maturity in performance that he did at Adams Park.
Of course perspective is needed. Wycombe are effectively a League One side who rather fortuitously gained promotion to the Championship via the playoffs after points per game elevated them from eighth to third last season.
The future certainly looks exciting for West Ham, though, with Baptiste not alone as a clutch of hugely promising academy starlet emerge together.
Cole lauded Baptiste the new Rio
Ogbonna isn’t the first to rave about Baptiste either.
Hammers cult hero Carlton Cole claims the club could have a new Rio Ferdinand on its hands.
Cole co-presents excellent new West Ham YouTube Show Inside Irons alongside Chris Scull.
And he believes Baptiste is a special talent.
“There’s loads to be looking forward to at the moment, there’s a lot of young English prospects coming through” Cole said on Inside Irons Episode Three.
“Especially Jamal Baptiste that I’m a massive fan of. Well he’s training with the first team at the moment. (And that tells you how highly rated he is) so I think he’s definitely a massive prospect.
“He’s going to be the next Anton Ferdinand hopefully or the next Rio. So hopefully we can these boys on the right track and help them transition into being a professional footballer full-time.”