The full-back opens up on his journey so far in the Premier League, and singled out the Reds star for praise
Ghana prospect and Brighton and Hove Albion defender Tariq Lamptey has named Senegal and Liverpool ace Sadio Mane among his toughest opponents faced in the Premier League.
In his second season of senior football, the 20-year-old England-born player has earned a place among the breakout stars of the term, owing to his fine performances for the Seagulls.
While carving out a reputation for himself, he has had to come up against the Liverpool star, whom he could potentially be also playing against at the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in January, should he accept Ghana’s request to represent the country of his parents.
“It’s 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,” Lamptey told his club’s official website.
“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.”
After a fine start to the season, Lamptey has been unlucky to be forced into the treatment by an injury picked up against Fulham in December.
A month prior to that, he achieved a personal milestone, scoring his first career goal as Brighton succumbed to a 2-1 away defeat to Tottenham Hotspur behind closed doors.
“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 right-back added.
“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.”
Lamptey has so far made 11 Premier League appearances for Brighton this term.
His fine performances have not only earned him an extended contract but he is also reportedly attracting the interest of Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Everton.