Lamptey proud of comeback from injury

Defender spoke in-depth for Saturday's programme.

By Luke Nicoli • 06 April 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Tariq Lamptey has made 42 Premier League appearances for Albion.

With 14 Premier League starts and nine appearances from the bench, it would be fair to say that Tariq Lamptey has been eased back into action this season.

Having missed the second half of the 2021/22 campaign with a his hamstring issue, it’s been excellent management from a player welfare point of view, but it says much for the youngster’s standing that he was still drafted into the England under-21 squad for the Euro qualifiers in the last international break.

While football is one rollercoaster ride, it’s clear we have a young footballer here who is loving life right now.

You’re going to go through battles and tough times in football, but that’s all part of it. You know what you’re getting yourself into, so you just have to make sure you believe in yourself, keep working hard and things will turn out right.
Tariq Lamptey

“I love football and have a smile on my face because I enjoy playing,” he said. “Of course, there are things that you sacrifice for it, but you know why you’re doing it.

“When you’re on the pitch and you have great moments, you remember the times that there was sacrifice and you enjoy the moment – that’s what you play for.

“You’re going to go through battles and tough times in football, but that’s all part of it. You know what you’re getting yourself into, so you just have to make sure you believe in yourself, keep working hard and things will turn out right.”

As Tariq says, there will be tough times – and that was certainly the case for the former Chelsea youngster last season when injury ruled him out of action from mid-December until the end of the season. He didn’t make his Premier League return until mid-October, in the 0-0 draw at last Saturday's opponents Norwich City, and so that smile is no doubt also a result of being back in action after such a lengthy absence.

“I’m grateful to be back on the pitch, playing football and playing well,” he added. “I’d like to be involved in every game, but it’s up to what the gaffer decides, so I just have to keep training well. Whenever the team call upon me, I’m ready to help.

By Paul Hazlewood
The defender says he always has a smile on his face because of how much he enjoys playing.

“I always want to be on the pitch – I always want to play. That’s just how it is as a footballer; you don’t like missing games or not playing, so I’m just eager to play every minute.”

Albion’s point at Carrow Road took the side into the top four in the Premier League – which no doubt raised eyebrows throughout the division. The Seagulls were, indeed, the surprise package in the first half of the season, but points have been harder to come by since the turn of the year.

Lamptey though insists there’s still a really positive environment to be found inside the changing room.

“We’ve got a great group here and everyone, when it gets tough, sticks together,” he pointed out. “I think you can see it on the pitch – we try to keep fighting until the end.

“I think we’ve been unlucky in a couple of games recently, but we’re trying to work as hard as possible. We train hard and listen to what the gaffer has to say to try and get a positive result on the pitch.

“In the training sessions it’s quite competitive and every time in the games we go out there with the belief that we can do well. If we stick to the game plan, we know that it will come out more often than not, and we trust in the people that we have.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Tariq Lamptey has made 14 Premier League starts so far this campaign.

It’s a changing room that also has a good blend of youth and experience. The academy players blooded in the first team by Graham Potter have been well documented, but for Lamptey and the other younger members of the squad, it’s the more elder statesmen that they look towards for advice.

“We’ve got an amazing changing room and in training I try to take a bit from everybody,” Tariq added. “There are lots of players you can learn from: the skipper Lewis Dunk, Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck, Solly March… lots of players that have great experience.

“They’re great guys, all of them. They always make sure I’m okay and offer me some advice. Danny is quite close to me and Solly and Webby (Adam Webster) as well, so you can go to anyone in that dressing room and they will be more than happy to help.

“I just want to try and soak up everything and try and take my game to the next level and improve.”

Injury aside, if you look at Tariq’s Premier League stats prior to Saturday's game, they make really encouraging reading: 217 duels won, 173 recoveries made, 136 crosses made and a tackle success rate of 66% are just some of the standout figures, but there is one area which could do with improvement: goals! To date, Tariq has scored just once for the Albion – the equaliser in a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last season.

“I just remember Pascal (Gross) looking over his shoulder, sliding me the ball and me just slotting it away in the far corner,” he recalled of his second-half equaliser. “After that it was all just a bit crazy, but it’s a bitter-sweet one because we didn’t get the win.

By Paul Hazlewood
The defender says he is learning a lot from the experienced players in the group.

“I would have preferred us to win the game or get something from the game, which would have made it better. In the end it was like, ‘Yeah I scored but it doesn’t really mean too much.’ But when you look back at it, it’s a great thing, to score my first goal and hopefully I can contribute more in that respect in future.”

There had been reports that he read psychology books while he was injured, so was that still the case?

“I just like reading, reading different things, different books,” he revealed. “At that time, I had a lot of time on my hands, and it was something that was recommended to me.

“I go through phases where I read a lot and then sometimes not as much but I find that if you read a little bit, even before bed or anything like that, it helps me unwind.

“Usually, though, I just like to chill with my family and friends – I like to be around them a lot and we’ll go and have dinner, things like that.

“I also have a table tennis table and my friends and my brothers will come round, although I’m not up to speed yet. It’s another nice distraction from football, but that competitive edge is still always there! That never goes!”