Brighton defender Tariq Lamptey possesses the drive and ambition to improve every aspect of his game, according to head coach Graham Potter.
Right-back Lamptey has been a revelation since breaking into Albion’s first team in June and this week committed his future to the club by signing a contract until 2025.
The 20-year-old’s rapid progress has recently been disrupted by a hamstring injury which will keep him sidelined for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie with League One Blackpool.
Potter is delighted to have tied the player to a lengthy new deal amid reported interest from bigger clubs and feels there is plenty more development to come once he returns to action.
“It means his short, medium and long-term future is with us and he can just focus on the most important thing for him, which is first to get fit and then to play more games in the Premier League,” Potter said of the contract extension.
“If you speak to Tariq, I think he will say he has every area of his game he can improve. And that’s not to say he’s not doing really, really well.
“I think he has got that mentality that he wants to improve, he wants to get better. He has got that ambition.
“Now it’s just a case of settling down and getting on with the really important stuff, which is playing football, affecting the games and helping us get points.”
Lamptey arrived at the Amex Stadium to little fanfare on transfer deadline day last January, having made only a single substitute appearance in the top flight for former club Chelsea.
He swiftly established himself as the Seagulls’ first-choice right-back with a string of strong performances post-lockdown and has since been capped by England at under-21 level.
Potter admits he could not envisage Lamptey making such an incredible impression during his first 12 months in Sussex.
“When he first came, you never know. We would be lying if we said that he’s going to come into the Premier League and have the impact that he did have,” said Potter.
“It’s just a case of you need a bit of luck and you need to be in a situation where you are using his attributes as much as you can. I think we have managed to do that.
“It’s down to him really and his qualities and how he’s settled in with his team-mates. He’s still got a lot to do but that’s the exciting thing.”
Brighton continued to be linked with a move for Independiente del Valle’s 19-year-old Ecuador midfielder Moises Caicedo.
Potter once again remained tight-lipped on the transfer rumours.
“There’s always speculation, a bit of noise around things, but until anyone is a Brighton player, I can’t really elaborate on anything,” he said.