Former West Ham United striker Carlton Cole has been left drooling over the performance of young defender Jeremy Ngakia in their defeat against Liverpool.
The Hammers may have lost the game at Anfield 3-2, but there were positives for them to take, having run the champions-elect so close and even having a 2-1 lead at one point (BBC Sport).
It was also a game in which 19-year-old Ngakia made only his second senior appearance for the club (Transfermarkt) and it seems that his display certainly caught the eye of Cole, who has waxed lyrical about him in the aftermath of the match.
Speaking via Sky Sports about the performance of Ngakia, the 36-year-old said: “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.”
Cole certainly has a point and, when you look at Ngakia’s statistics from the game against Liverpool, they make for impressive reading. He won an impressive seven ground duels and made five tackles, four clearances and three interceptions in the 90 minutes, whilst also completing a couple of successful dribbles (SofaScore).
Considering the opposition he was up against and the fact that he had only played one first-team match prior to Monday, those are some excellent numbers. With regular right-back Ryan Fredericks now out for six weeks having had surgery on his shoulder (BBC Sport), there is a real opportunity for Ngakia to nail down the position if David Moyes continues to pick him ahead of Pablo Zabaleta.
West Ham fans, how impressed were you with Jeremy Ngakia’s performance at Anfield? Let us know below…
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