Anyone who pays attention to the English Premier League will know that Tariq Lamptey, 19, has been earning rave reviews of late with recent murmurings suggesting that Charles Akonnor could move to convince him to commit his international future to Ghana.
Here we look at Lamptey’s career to date, his style of play and whether or not a future with Ghana might appeal.
Lamptey was born and raised in Hillingdon, West London in September 2000. His upbringing was a modest one with his Ghanaian-born parents having to work hard to provide for him and his three brothers.
The family home was just a 35-minute drive from Stamford Bridge – the home of Chelsea Football Club – and by the time Lamptey turned eight-years-old, he would be part of their academy system.
From that moment on, it’s become clear that the player has been supported in a massive way by his parents who have given everything to help their son make it to the big time.
Lamptey, like most young players in the Blues setup, faced an uphill battle to make the grade at Chelsea given that they’ve been splashing Roman Abramovic’s since 2003 – just three years after Lamptey was born.
He was, however, making a strong impression for the development sides. After helping Chelsea to win the Youth league title in 2017/18 England debuts came in the shape of under 18 and 19 appearances came his way. In September 2019, an under 20 call followed.
A few months later, Lamptey would make his Chelsea senior bow. It came in the shape of a substitute appearance against Arsenal. Gabon man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given the Gunners an early lead, which had the score at 1-0 when Lamptey appeared off the bench in the 61st minute.
The Blues would go on to turn things around and left the Emirates as 2-1 victors. Two further sub appearances would quickly follow but this time both came in the FA Cup. Chelsea won both games.
Despite starting to make a few appearances for Frank Lampard’s side it was apparent that Lamptey was down the pecking order with the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James the preferred right-back options. Brighton, who are managed by former Ostersunds coach Graham Potter, came calling with a £3m offer in the January transfer window and Lamptey’s Chelsea journey was over.
A Brighton debut wouldn’t come until after the Covid-19 enforced mid-season break but, once in the team, Lamptey stood out. He played 90 minutes against Leicester, 45 versus Manchester United before a further two full matches followed against Norwich and Liverpool respectively.
The latter saw Lamptey grab his first senior assist as he crossed for Leandro Trossard. When the season ended Lamptey had made eight Premier League appearances for the Seagulls.
One of the hottest prospects in the Premier League?
If the 2019/20 campaign had given Lamptey a taste of the Premier League then the start of the latest season has seen a shift; it’s now Lamptey who is giving the Premier League a taste of him. He started the season with a 90-minute showing against his former club, Chelsea, where he grabbed another assist.
By matchday three – having added appearances against Man United and Newcastle – his assist tally stood at three in as many games.
He hasn’t bagged another assist since but he’s played a huge role in the slick, attacking football that Potter is being lauded for and he has now registered his first senior goal courtesy of a calmly taken strike as Brighton fell to a narrow defeat to Tottenham.
His latest appearance – a start versus Aston Villa – again saw the youngster in receipt of rave reviews, however, a second yellow card in the 90th minute saw him dismissed. Regardless, his potential is there for all to see.
What’s all the hype about?
Well, in addition to the goal involvement every 3.6 games that Lamptey is averaging in the Premier League, it’s actually his all round style of play that is impressing pundits, fans and coaches alike.
Lamptey is blisteringly quick and was clocked at 22.8 miles per hour in Brighton’s match against Newcastle earlier in the season. He uses that pace to burst forwards both with and without the ball to contribute a real attacking threat.
He attempts 3.2 dribbles every 90 minutes and although only 42% of them are seen as completed the truth is that the conversion for how many create panic is much higher. The youngster is good in possession too with a 79% pass completion including a chance creation each match.
Given all that offensive quality, you’d be forgiven for thinking he might lack something on the defensive side of the game. He doesn’t; not really anyway.
Lamptey has MMA style aggression in the tackle like fellow Ghanaian UFC star Abdul Alhassan (click here to know how to bet on MMA).
Despite his slight frame, he has a remarkable 75% tackle win ratio.
The one area that doesn’t stack up too well is his ability to compete in aerial duels where he wins under a third of all battles. Then again, he is only 5’5.
What are the chances of Ghana getting their man?
Given we’ve just spent the last few minutes building Lamptey up as a real talent you’d be forgiven for asking ‘surely England will want him?’. Well, they clearly value him as a player, which is supported by the fact he was handed an England under 21 call in September. The trouble England and Lamptey have is that the national team is blessed with a wealth of options at right-back.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is ranked as one of the best fullbacks in the world at the moment whilst his former Chelsea teammate James is ahead of Lamptey in Southgate’s mind too. Both of those have plenty of years left in the tank given that they are also young players. On top of that, you have names such as Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the frame too.
All of that combined with Lamptey’s desire to repay his parents’ sacrifice by making them proud could well see him pull on the colours of their native country.