Former West Ham United striker Carlton Cole has heaped praise on Jeremy Ngakia, after the teenager produced an impressive performance against Liverpool on Monday.
The 19-year-old was brought in for the injured Ryan Fredericks for the Premier League game at Anfield, and was handed the unenviable task of dealing with Sadio Mane.
The youngster really held his own against one of the world’s best wingers, and will have done his starting prospects the world of good going forwards.
His performance prompted ex-Irons number nine Cole to deliver a glowing report.
He said (Sky Sports): “I thought his concentration and focus on Monday night was immense. To hold his own against someone like Sadio Mane, one of the best in the world at the moment, and other players like Andy Robertson, was a measure of his quality.
“Jeremy is a natural defender. I think he started as a winger, but he has that natural instinct to defend – his reading of the game and sense of positioning is very, very good. And he has developed that entirely in the West Ham academy, which is huge credit to the staff and coaches who have guided him on his journey.”
TBR’s view – Ngakia deserves to keep place
David Moyes surely has to keep the faith with Ngakia from here on in.
It looks as though Fredericks will be sidelined for a while, and Pablo Zabaleta is the only other senior option to play at right-back.
The Argentine defender has shown he is susceptible to pace though, and young Ngakia’s mobility and composure might be the way to go for the struggling Hammers.