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West Ham must unleash Jamal Baptiste

West Ham United can secure the Group B top spot in the Europa Conference League on Thursday evening as the Hammers face Danish side Silkeborg at the London Stadium.

And, with progression already mathematically secured, David Moyes should take this opportunity to hand some first-team minutes to some of the best and brightest talents in the Hammers academy.

Considering West Ham’s injury woes at centre-back this season, which have seen the likes of Nayef Aguerd, Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson all spend time on the sidelines, there seem few prospects more likely and more deserving of a start in European football than Jamal Baptiste.

The 18-year-old defender already has two senior appearances under his belt, including 90 minutes in the Europa League against Dinamo Zagreb last term, so Moyes is already well-aware of the teenage centre-back and what he can offer in the first team.

Baptiste has progressed through the academy at West Ham and already has 54 appearances for the U21s to his name despite his age, so looks almost certain to be a part of the first team in the not-too-distant future.

There seem few better opportunities for Baptiste to be handed his first senior minutes of the season, as the Hammers are all but assured of the top spot in Group B, so it feels like a low-pressure scenario for the teenager to feature in, which will surely do wonders for his confidence and development.

Should Moyes start Baptiste tonight?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Baptiste is a player that former West Ham man Carlton Cole certainly rates highly, as he waxed lyrical about the academy graduate on his YouTube show Inside Irons.

The former Irons centre-forward said: “There are loads to be looking forward to at the moment, there are a lot of young English prospects coming through.

“Especially Jamal Baptiste who I’m a massive fan of. He’s training with the first team at the moment [which 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.”

 

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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?

If West Ham are going to turn Baptiste into the next Rio Ferdinand then he needs first-team minutes as often as possible, so Moyes should make sure to hand him a start against Silkeborg on Thursday evening.

Article title: West Ham must unleash Jamal Baptiste

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