Former West Ham academy director Terry Westley has hailed 15-year-old defensive sensation Jamal Baptiste, claiming the youngster has “got everything”.
The teenager has already made his debut for the U23s, and Westley is expecting big things from him.
Speaking to Claret & Hugh, he said: “One of the finest young prospects at the club without any doubt is 15 year old Jamal Baptiste who believe me is going to be a monster player in the Issa Diop mould. I see him as exactly that – the new Issa Diop.
“He’s got everything, height, power, pace and is already, at such a young age, making a serious impact on the under 23s. There’s going to be a lot of clubs after him but when he sees players coming through into the first team that counts for a lot.
“When young players see they are in a place where they will be given their chance if good enough they tend to stick around.
“Remember the name”.
For Baptiste to play U23s football at the age of just 15, he must be a pretty special talent, and for Westley to then back that up with this glowing report is testament to just how good the youngster could become. Not only has he appeared for the reserves though, but he has also settled well and put in performances that a player far beyond his years would have been proud of, as per the Hammers’ official website. Obviously, in this situation, you need to be careful not to overhype a player too greatly or too soon, but the hope will be that if the Irons’ newest prodigy can stay grounded and keep working hard, then there is no reason why he can’t progress onwards to the first team later in his career. It will take a while, but he’s good enough to get there.