Despite seemingly taking to it like a duck to water, Tariq Lamptey admits playing in the Premier League every week is anything but easy.
The 20-year-old looked set for a real breakthrough season in an Albion shirt, but a hamstring injury in December brought his campaign to a premature end.
Despite that, Lamptey looks back on a year of positive challenges, as he came up against opponents he had been watching on his TV at home not so long ago.
“It’s a difficult to pick my most difficult opponent, I have enjoyed the different challenges. Paul Pogba, Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante, there are so many. You go from two or three years ago watching these guys on TV to being on the same pitch as them, it’s a surreal feeling.
“When you’re walking out on the pitch, you know you’ve put in the work and deserve to be there. I was waiting for the chance so when you go up against those players you’re in the zone and want to get the best result possible. Nerves don’t come into it, I want to play with energy and fearlessness.
“It’s definitely not easy playing in the Premier League, but I demand a lot of myself and that starts in training. You put the most into it and then you try to improve and do even better.
“When you come into the game you’re ready to get the best out of yourself. You don’t have time to think ‘I haven’t played at this level’, you’ve worked for it your whole life and I try to enjoy the experience.”
The 2020/21 season saw the former Chelsea defender score his first Premier League goal, although the game ended in a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Along with the disappointment of the loss, Lamptey was gutted not to be able to hear the roar of the Albion fans as he slotted past Hugo Lloris.
“In the game you have to focus on building your own momentum and pushing yourself on, but you quickly realise how important the supporters are for the game on a matchday, we’re really missing them. The energy has to come from each other when there are no fans. It’s going to be fantastic when they are back. I can’t wait to play at the Amex in front of 30,000-plus and hopefully that will be next season.”
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