Danny Mills heaped praise on David Moyes for starting West Ham youngster Jeremy Ngakia at Anfield on Monday night.
The former Leeds United full-back, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed the “extra 10% energy” the 19-year-old possesses was crucial to handling Liverpool’s attack.
Ngakia was impressive from right-back, keeping Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson relatively quiet for large periods of the game.
It was the academy graduate’s first start for the club and only his second Premier League appearance having featured predominantly for the under-23s this campaign.
The Hammers went on to lose the game 3-2 but it was no reflection on what was an excellent defensive performance against the league leaders.
When asked for his assessment of the teenager’s performance against Jurgen Klopp’s side, Mills told Football Insider: “I think sometimes when you throw young players in or give players their debut it is a bit of a buzz.
“It was Tanganga when he came in for Spurs, when he played against Liverpool, they rise to the challenge and you often get that with new players, debutants – the adrenaline.
“You are buzzing, you have an extra 10% energy and concentration is at its peak. It is maintaining it over the course of the game.
“Moyes probably thought he needed legs and pace because if Zabaleta could get caught out. Someone could run the legs off him and that would create its own problems.”
Individual errors from goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski gifted Liverpool their opener and their second-half equaliser to ultimately change the course of the match.
It means the Irons remain in the relegation zone following the defeat, 1 appoint adrift of Aston Villa and safety.