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West Ham could unearth Rio Ferdinand 2.0 in Jamal Baptiste

West Ham United’s recent Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace saw them take the lead, before squandering it in the final minutes of the game courtesy of a Michael Olise finish.

It saw a particularly poor performance from Kurt Zouma, who admittedly has not had the transformative effect David Moyes would have hoped for when he spent £29.8m to secure his services.

Boasting a hulking figure and blistering speed, it was thought that the Frenchman might have been able to emulate the successes of Rio Ferdinand, who started his illustrious career in east London.

Should Moyes unearth Baptiste soon?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Described as “phenomenal” by Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2007, the Manchester United legend would go on to win almost every trophy available to him including six Premier League titles and a Champions League.

The 47-year-old made his debut at just 17 for the Hammers and would play 145 times before eventually being shipped off in a world record fee for a defender to Leeds United.

There will be hope around the London Stadium that in Jamal Baptiste, they now have a true heir to one of the most successful academy graduates in their history.

Already boasting two senior appearances for the club despite being just 19 years old, there is a solid platform slowly being built for which he can explode.

It is a testament to his ability that Carlton Cole – speaking to the Irons Inside podcast – likened the teenager to both Ferdinand brothers. He said:

“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”.

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West Ham United manager David Moyes applauds the fans

How many points did West Ham end the Premier League season with?

In recent seasons he has announced himself as a mainstay in the under-23s side despite his youth, holding his own against some talents with far more experience than him.

However, even as a 15-year-old there was a belief he would be special.

Former academy chef Terry Westley noted his potential to graduate from Rush Green as a true star, as he spoke to Claret and Hugh back in 2019 to label him “one of the finest young prospects at the club… who believe me is going to be a monster player”.

With Zouma yet to truly hit the heights expected, perhaps for now Moyes could work on integrating Baptiste into the first team setup, to soon reap the rewards of a man who seemingly could go on to emulate the great Rio Ferdinand.

Article title: West Ham could unearth Rio Ferdinand 2.0 in Jamal Baptiste

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