David Moyes should consider turning to U23 starlet Jamal Baptiste in light of West Ham’s recent blow to Angelo Ogbonna…
During the Irons’ 3-2 victory over Liverpool last weekend, the 33-year-old centre-back sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and could now be ruled out of action for the next nine months or more.
It now leaves Moyes a little short on options in defence. Yes, he does have Issa Diop and Craig Dawson as more than capable back-ups to play alongside Kurt Zouma, but in an ideal world, he’ll like to fill the available place in the squad.
January is still two months away and there’s no guarantee that the Italian colossus will return to the starting XI next year, so it could be wise to look at alternatives and they should look no further than the teenager who Ogbonna has backed to succeed after a pre-season win ove Wycombe Wanderers.
“He 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,” he 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 instructions and it’s good for him to have people he can look to.”
Meanwhile, Hammers legend Carlton Cole has compared him to Rio Ferdinand, claiming he’s a “massive prospect” to the ‘Irons Inside’ podcast. “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.”
‘Tall, strong and comfortable in possession’ is how the club’s official website describes the 18-year-old sensation, whilst he claims both Virgil van Dijk and West Ham’s former defender and his academy mentor Matthew Upson as players he bases his game on.
Also dubbed a “monster” who is “one of the finest young prospects at the club” by former academy director Terry Westley to Claret & Hugh, it could be time to see Baptiste as the ‘fourth choice’ in the absence of Ogbonna.
Moyes is certainly a fan, so it would be an easy transition to make. It would mean that the club wouldn’t have to spend big in the upcoming winter transfer window and their finances can be used to bolster other positions, such as upfront.
Baptiste could save GSB millions.
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