Tariq Lamptey: Brighton ace is natural England replacement for Kyle Walker
England have never had an embarrassment of riches in one position the way they currently do at right-back, and Brighton are adding to it.
Gareth Southgate has more often than not opted for Manchester City star Kyle Walker as his first-choice, but he has also had the option to choose from Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James.
But beyond them, and as the former two options enter their thirties, there is another outstanding prospect in Tariq Lamptey ready to step in and compete for their spot in the national team.
An academy graduate from the world-famous Cobham, Lamptey became one of many prospects at Chelsea to make their Premier League debut under Frank Lampard during his spell at Stamford Bridge.
But unlike James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, Lamptey wasn’t a regular in the first-team picture and rather than renew his contract to try and breakthrough he decided to leave for more time on the pitch with the Seagulls.
Since moving to the AMEX Stadium, he has been the stand-out performer under Graham Potter and has earned plaudits from everywhere – even being linked with big-money moves to Tottenham and Manchester United.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
But with the World Cup approaching at the end of the year, and Trippier and Walker both coming towards the end of their international careers, a spot is opening up in the squad and Lamptey is primed to steal a march on his competition and take it.
The ability to play in both full-back positions helps him too, but his performances on the right have absolutely earned him the right to get a shot in that position.
He’s competing against two generational options there, with Alexander-Arnold and James both flying at Champions League winning clubs. But both are capable of playing in multiple positions, including further forward too.
Neither have the pace Lamptey has, while an argument could be made that he’s the best of the lot defensively too. He’s also the youngest, which gives him a larger window.
If a summer move transpires and Lamptey can make a mark on European football in the same way he did Premier League football initially, the 21-year-old will have a huge outside chance of being in Qatar and then going on to make that England spot his own.
In other Football Wonderkids news, Manchester United already have their Paul Pogba replacement in Hannibal Mejbri.