Brighton boss Graham Potter admits teenager Tariq Lamptey has already established himself as a key player for the club and is a shining example to other young footballers.
Full-back Lamptey has received widespread praise for his positive performances since breaking into Albion’s team after lockdown.
The 19-year-old, signed from Chelsea in January, has been singled out as a future England international, despite having made just 10 Premier League appearances.
Potter is impressed with Lamptey on and off the field, highlighting the player’s “down-to-earth” attitude and desire to improve.
“As impressive as he is in terms of his footballing ability, as a person I think he’s a fantastic role model,” said Potter.
“There’s a perception that you have to be a certain way to succeed in this cynical, horrible world we live in.
“But he’s the opposite in terms of just a really, really nice, down-to-earth kid that wants to learn, wants to improve, wants to help the team. He’s been fantastic.
“I think he’s got a long way to go to reach his potential, to reach his maximum, which is normal.
“But he’s got attributes that are really exciting and they are not so common. I’m talking about of course his speed, but it’s also his courage, it’s his intelligence, it’s his interpersonal skills, how he is as a lad.
“It’s not so easy to find those guys and he’s important for us.”
Lamptey tore apart Newcastle in a 3-0 win at St James’ Park last weekend before limping off in the second half following a series of robust challenges.
He has returned to training and is expected to retain his place when Manchester United visit the Amex Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.
The fixture is a repeat of Lamptey’s home Premier League debut, when a rampant United side ran out 3-0 victors in Sussex less than three months ago.
Potter admires the player’s ability to remain unfazed by setbacks.
“Manchester United were probably the best team at that point, really, really strong,” said Potter.
“It was a difficult night but he’s that type of character that doesn’t get too excited when things go really well and doesn’t get too down when things go not so well.
“He’s quite consistent in his behaviour and does his best, works hard and waits for the next opportunity.”
Brighton have been buoyed by Carabao Cup successes over Portsmouth and Preston, either side of the mauling of the Magpies.
The trio of wins has set up back-to-back home clashes with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United side in league and cup.
Potter has urged his players to work hard to ensure the positive form continues.
“The players are in a good place, working for each other,” he said.
“The understanding of what we’re trying to do is developing, so that’s pleasing.
“At the same time, we know how football is. There are challenges around the corner and things can quickly turn around so just try and keep as level as possible and look forward to the next match.”
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