Could ex-Leyton Orient attacker Steven Alzate make Brighton & Hove Albion debut before season's up?
PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 January 2018
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The 19-year-old, who spent five years at O's, was part of the Seagulls squad which travelled to Middlesbrough on Saturday, but didn't make the bench
Former Leyton Orient youngster Steven Alzate could well make his Brighton & Hove Albion debut before the end of the season.
The 19-year-old joined the Seagulls on July 31 for an undisclosed fee after catching the eye during the O’s relegation from League Two.
Alzate, an Orient academy graduate, only signed his first professional deal with the then-League Two club in September 2016 and made his first-team debut five months later.
Having joined the club at under-13 level, the staff at Brisbane Road knew all about the talent on their books and it was clear to everyone else as soon as he entered the pitch for his maiden Football League appearance.
Despite coming on at Broadhall Way with the O’s 4-1 down to Stevenage, Alzate played with an assurance and class expected of a senior professional.
The Orient manager at the time, Danny Webb, handed the Londoner his full debut just days later on March 4 at Newport County.
And despite the Rodney Parade pitch being in a poor condition, Alzate and several of O’s other teenagers shone during a stunning 4-0 victory.
It took Alzate just eight minutes to score at Newport and he continued to run the show throughout the game.
He would go on to play 12 times in League Two for Orient, but was unable to prevent the club suffering relegation to the National League.
Football League scouts had already been alerted to Alzate’s potential by this point and it was therefore no surprise to see Brighton secure his signature last summer.
Since linking up with the Seagulls under-23 team, the Camden-born footballer has caught the eye.
Alzate has played in two Football League Trophy games for Brighton’s under-23s and scored in a penalty shoot-out at Oxford United after the match ended 2-2.
The ex-Orient youngster has found the net a number of times already for his new club with his last strike coming at Norwich City on December 18 – a Premier League 2 game where another former O’s attacker, Tristian Abrahams, played.
Last Tuesday the Brighton teenager claimed another assist as his side beat Whitehawk 3-1 in the Sussex Senior Cup.
It led to Alzate travelling with the Seagulls first-team to Middlesbrough for their fourth-round FA Cup tie on Saturday.
Although the one-time Orient youngster wasn’t selected as part of the match day squad at the Riverside Stadium, he appears to be getting closer to featuring under Chris Hughton.
With Brighton earning a home tie with Coventry City in the FA Cup fifth-round draw on Monday, Alzate has a decent chance of potentially making it on the bench for the clash with the Sky Blues on February 17.
Michael Collins, who played in 11 of Alzate’s 12 games for O’s, is confident the teen will make an impact at Falmer Stadium.
He said: “I’m really pleased for Steven and there are a few lads that are still at Leyton Orient like him. One of the things I did notice there was the youth at the club are very strong.
“I know they are quite lucky to have a big pool in London to choose from, but that should take nothing away from the work done within the academy.
“It is bearing fruit now with so many coming through over the last couple of years and with Steven you could see straight away the kid was special.
“He showed no fear and has great ability. I mentioned him to one or two people in football circles and said there is a kid at Leyton Orient who you want to keep an eye on and he has gone to Brighton, so credit to him.
“To be honest I don’t think it will be long before he is fighting his way into their first-team or a club in the Championship takes him on loan and he is kicking on again.
“He really is a great kid with a great attitude and I wish him nothing but the best because when you see a kid come through who gives everything on a daily basis you want nothing but the best for them and I’m pleased he got the move.
“Hopefully Leyton Orient got their share out of it as well and it was good for them and good for everyone involved really.”