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What might have been…

Tariq Lamptey is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League, but his journey has not been all that straightforward.

Still only 21, the young right-back has already been around for a few years, and his career could be even more interesting if it wasn’t for one Reece James.

James is a year older than Lamptey, and both were trying to break into the Chelsea squad at the same time.

Ultimately, James was chosen ahead of Lamptey, and one Champions League trophy later – the rest is history.

Lamptey recently spoke about his decision to leave Chelsea and go to Brighton, and he clearly has no regrets about how things are going.

Tariq Lamptey on Reece James

Tariq Lamptey

Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “I was privileged to be in a good place where they allowed me to develop and I’m grateful to them.

“But I feel it was time to try and get regular game time and just try and take my game to the next level and keep developing.

“When I was at Chelsea, Reece James was in the age group older than me. He was always giving me good advice. I’m happy to see him doing well and hopefully that continues.

“There was a good academy at Chelsea and they give you the tools you need to try and develop your game.

“It just so happens that they have a lot of players in that position but they’ve got boys all around that can take it to the next level.”

Tariq Lamptey on his influences

Speaking about the players he enjoyed watching as a child, Lamptey’s answer helps to explain his unique skillset perfectly.

He said: “The game keeps advancing and as a full-back you have to be prepared to defend first but try and contribute to the team with assists or goals. That’s how it is at the moment which is brilliant for me because I love to get forward and also like defending.

“When I was a kid I liked watching Dani Alves and Ronaldinho but I also loved watching Ashley Cole bomb up and down even though it was on the left flank. He had great energy and the technique he had was amazing.”

Lamptey won Man of the Match against Leeds on Saturday, in a game that led Brighton fans to boo their team (who sit in 8th place) off the pitch.

Only recently back from injury, it will be interesting to see how 21-year-old helps his team forward from now.

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