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New West Ham kid on the block feature: Jamal Baptiste

Sixteen-year-old Jamal Baptiste has been described as the new Rio Ferdinand by Carlton Cole

After joining the Hammers Academy as a nine-year-old the versatile defender broke into the U18 squad on a regular basis at the start of the 2018/19 season while still a 14 year -old schoolboy.

Tall, strong and comfortable in possession, Baptiste made his full debut in a U18 Premier League South win at Norwich City on 11 August 2018. By the season’s end he had started 14 times. The youngster’s outstanding progress continued in the 2019/20 season as he made his debut for the U23s in a 1-0 Premier League International Cup win over Valencia ‘B’ on 11 September 2019, playing the full 90 minutes in a youthful-looking defence.

With the occasion arriving two months short of his 16th birthday, Baptiste became the second-youngest West Ham U23s player in history, behind only fellow U18s defender Jayden Fevrier. Baptiste had been part of the England U15, U16 and U17 setup

An England U17 debut was swift to follow, as a 15-year-old Baptiste made his international bow against Germany Under-17s on Thursday 10 October 2019.

Baptiste cites the likes of Virgil van Dijk and former Academy mentor Matt Upson as amongst the players he bases his game on.

Former West Ham Academy Director Terry Westley told Claret and Hugh “One of the finest young prospects at the club without any doubt is 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.”

After senior debuts for Harrison Ashby, Emmanuel Longelo and Aji Alese it probably only a matter of time before Jamal gets his chance.

Baptiste turns 17 on 11th November and is set to sign his first professional contract with West Ham.

 

About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

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