3 minute read

11/11/2022 | 08:40pm

West Ham United’s recent Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace saw them take the lead, before squandering it in the final minutes of the game courtesy of a Michael Olise finish.

It saw a particularly poor performance from Kurt Zouma, who admittedly has not had the transformative effect David Moyes would have hoped for when he spent £29.8m to secure his services.

The Frenchman was a muscular man with a blistering speed and a strong figure. It was believed that he could have been able emulate Rio Ferdinand’s success in east London.

Should Moyes be able to find Baptiste soon enough?





Described as “phenomenal” by Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2007, the Manchester United legend would go on to win almost every trophy available to him including six Premier League titles and a Champions League.

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The 47-year-old made his debut at just 17 for the Hammers and would play 145 times before eventually being shipped off in a world record fee for a defender to Leeds United.

There is hope at the London Stadium because Jamal Baptiste is now a true heir to one the most successful academy graduates in their past history.

Already boasting two senior appearances for the club despite being just 19 years old, there is a solid platform slowly being built for which he can explode.

It is a testament to his ability that Carlton Cole – speaking to the Irons Inside podcast – likened the teenager to both Ferdinand brothers. He said:

“He’s going to be the next Anton Ferdinand hopefully or the next Rio, so hopefully we can these boys on the right track and help them transition into being a professional footballer full-time”.

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He has proven himself to be a key player in the Under-23s side, despite his youth. He is able to hold his own against more experienced players.

Even as a 15 year old, there was a belief that he would be special.

Former academy chef Terry Westley noted his potential to graduate from Rush Green as a true star, as he spoke to Claret and Hugh back in 2019 to label him “one of the finest young prospects at the club… who believe me is going to be a monster player”.

Zouma is yet to achieve the heights expected. Moyes may instead work on integrating Baptiste into first team, so that he can soon reap the benefits of a man who seems to be able to emulate Rio Ferdinand.

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