Tariq Lamptey is keeping his feet firmly on the ground after earning rave reviews for his start to the new season.
The 19-year-old Brighton wing-back turned in a scintillating individual display as the Seagulls demolished Newcastle 3-0 at St James’ Park on Sunday, prompting television pundit Jamie Carragher to join the chorus of approval when he tweeted “Love Lamptey!”.
However, the former Chelsea trainee is not allowing himself to get carried away.
Asked about Carragher’s comment, he told Albion TV: “I don’t know what to say. I appreciate all the praise and I’m thankful for it, but I just have to keep working hard and keep focusing, keep putting in good performances for the team.
“The main thing was the team got the win, but it’s great to get high praise from such fantastic ex-players.”
Lamptey turned in a sensational display on Tyneside, luring Allan Saint-Maximin into a rash challenge inside the opening three minutes to earn the penalty from which Neal Maupay put the visitors ahead and then repeatedly shredding the Magpies defence before being substituted 13 minutes into the second half.
In the meantime, he had been felled unceremoniously by Jonjo Shelvey, Jamal Lewis and Andy Carroll, but simply kept coming back for more.
He said: “There were quite a few tackles, but that’s football. You just have to keep getting up, really.”
Maupay had doubled Brighton’s tally with just seven minutes played and Lamptey watched from the bench as Aaron Connolly completed a comprehensive victory seven minutes from time despite Yves Bissouma’s late dismissal for a high challenge on Lewis.
The French striker said: “Tariq is amazing. He’s been with us only six months now maybe, and he’s been on top every single day, and he’s such a good guy too. Everyone loves him in the team and every time he’s on the pitch, he gives everything he has.
“He’s so quick, he’s got great quality on the ball too, he’s a good defender. We are all grateful to have him in the team.”
If there were smiles on the faces of the visitors as they headed for home, their hosts wore stunned expressions as they surveyed the wreckage of a desperate afternoon which came a little more than a week after they had launched their season in such impressive style with victory at West Ham.
Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce said: “We never gave ourselves a chance. The penalty, for me, is dubious, but I’ll let other people make their minds up on that. It looked really soft, it looked as if Allan played the ball, and then we’ve let them in again and really haven’t started the game.
“Before we started, we’ve given ourselves a mountain to climb.”
Bruce is likely to make wholesale changes for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup third-round trip to League Two Morecambe anyway, but Lewis suffered a nasty cut and a suspected abrasion to his eye in the sending-off incident and Saint-Maximin aggravated an ankle injury.
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