Exclusive: Kevin Phillips blown away by barely-seen West Ham youth
Kevin Phillips heaped praise on Jeremy Ngakia for making an instant impact at West Ham.
The 2000 European Golden Shoe winner, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed the 19-year-old may be the “bright spark” to ignite a push for survival from the Hammers.
Ngakia, making only his second Premier League appearance, played the full 90 minutes as his side narrowly lost to league leaders Liverpool 3-2 at Anfield.
The academy graduate’s other previous start came in the reverse fixture at the London Stadium at the end of January.
When asked for his assessment of the teenager’s performance against last season’s Champions League winners, Phillips told Football Insider: “He did well. Settled into the game really well.
“He looks tenacious, quick, aggressive and not many people got past him and he dealt with Mane, Firmino and Salah really well. He might be the bright spark that the defence needs that will help them stop conceding goals.
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“Of course, they conceded three the other night but it did not really warrant those goals. Two mistakes from the goalkeeper. You cannot legislate for that. The defenders coped really well, defended well and he was one of their standout players.
“His performance was a big positive and there were a lot of positives to come from the game the other night.”
Ngakia has mainly featured for The Irons’ under-23 side this season in Premier League 2 where he has made eight appearances.
This weekend David Moyes’s side host Southampton as they look to capitalise on Aston Villa playing in the League Cup final – a point enough to lift them out of the relegation zone.
In other West Ham news, Michael Brown has told Football Insider on loan star has been “unplayable at times” this season.