Team-mates back Bolton Wanderers starlet Hayden White
HAYDEN White has been backed to follow up his impressive baptism of fire at QPR with another display beyond his years if Dougie Freedman decides to stick with the youngster at Ipswich.
Wanderers boss Freedman was forced to throw the teenage full-back in for his first taste of senior football at Loftus Road in midweek after losing Tim Ream less than a minute into the game.
With defensive cover woefully thin, it is possible White – a summer recruit from Sheffield Wednesday – could keep his place at Portman Road.
And Alex Baptiste, who would most likely move over to the left should the youngster come into the starting line-up, reckons the Londoner would not let anyone down.
“When I saw Tim go down I thought ‘oh no, here we go,’ Baptiste said. “But Hayden came in and he was unbelievable. Considering that was his first game, it was different class.
“Credit to him that he looks comfortable at this level.”
White has only recently been brought into the first-team set-up, sitting on the bench for the last few games as the numbers in Freedman’s squad have dwindled.
Baptiste says he and other senior members of the squad would help calm the 19-year-old’s nerves if need be tomorrow, but believes White has all the tools to become a first class full-back.
“He’s probably the quickest player at the club,” he said. “He’s got all the attributes and he’s still only young. I think he’ll be a very good player for Bolton.
“We’ve tried to give him a bit of advice but he’s come in recently and it’s as if he has been a member of the first team all season.
“He might have to go again at Ipswich. But as you saw against QPR I think he can handle it.
“He took that game in his stride and if he’s needed against Ipswich, he’ll give another outstanding performance.”
Baptiste’s words were echoed by Zat Knight – who says White will have benefited from his sudden debut at QPR.
“I’d give him massive credit,” he said.
“I said he’s got to be proud of himself – and his family should be proud too.
“He’s been on the fringe of things, has been training with us, but to come into a game like this against a team like QPR is a rare chance. But I think it’s a good one to come into.
“He has to start somewhere. It isn’t easy for a young lad to come into the situation we’re in – it’d be nice for him to come in when there was not as much pressure on us.
“But sometimes you get thrown in at the deep end at it’s a test of character.”