Sam Byram made his debut for West Ham last weekend.
Bilic said: “It was a very mature debut considering everything, especially the opposition. Imagine coming on and being up against Kevin de Bruyne, or David Silva — and then Raheem Sterling in the second half! He wasn’t scared, though. Sam deserves a lot of credit. It is harder to come on in a match if you are a defender. We knew Sam had quality, that’s why we signed him. He’s a young player, he’s going to be up and down but we are expecting big things from him.”
Byram was signed from Leeds last week, and immediately placed in the matchday squad for last weekend’s game against Manchester City.
The plan has been to ease Byram in slowly so he can adapt to the Premier League, but he was thrust into match action after just 13 minutes due to the injury to Carl Jenkinson.
He impressed in his almost 80-minute appearance, suggesting he is ready for the Premier League already, and the Hammers now have no need to sign a new full-back to replace the injured Jenkinson.
Bilic has lavished praise on the defender, 22, suggesting his performance showed a maturity beyond his years, especially as he was coming up against a top quality team in City.
Byram had to face up to the likes of Kevin De Buryne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling, and he completed his job well enough to help the Hammers secure a 2-2 draw.
Byram’s signing was greeted with praise from West Ham fans, and his debut performance has suggested he is already going to make an impact with the East London club this season.