Blake Longford tells you everything you need to know about Ben Woodburn.
Ben Woodburn, you’ve heard the name, but what do you really know about him?
The youngster burst into Liverpool’s under-23’s squad with 4 goals and an assist in the first 4 official games of the season, and once in each of Liverpool’s pre-season friendlies against Fleetwood Town and Wigan Athletic.
A great achievement for anyone, especially, a 16-year-old playing in a league designed for players with an extra 7 years for gaining experience in lower leagues, letting both their skills and bodies to develop.
Woodburn is quickly becoming loved by the fans, having played amongst fan-favourites Lucas Leiva and Danny Ings in the under-23s. He is quickly being dubbed as the new Aaron Ramsey – who, at the same age was being dubbed as the new Gerrard.
He has represented Wales in the under-19 team and as the captain of their under-17 team, scoring against Iceland. These international games may, however, come back to haunt the youngster from Cheshire, England, although he seems to be quite set in his Welsh ways.
Ben Woodburn has scored many impressive goals, including his chest-volley against Cardiff City in the FA Youth Cup from a 50 yard pass to help them to a 3-0 lead, and an amazing bicycle kick against Manchester United’s U18 team last season in which his 2 goals helped them to another 3-0 win against their red rivals.
He’s also provided many skillful assists with perfectly placed chips and crosses which has resulted in Jurgen Klopp “singing big songs” about him.
The staff at Liverpool’s academy have decided not to rave on publicly about him but instead showed their praise in team selections, by repetitively picking him in teams well above his age and even placing him in their Futures Group – a group of Liverpool’s highest rated academy players aged 15 to 21.
These players have 1 extra training session a week accompanied by Adam Lallana, Phillipe Coutinho and 1st team coach Pep Lijnders. This has filled him with immense confidence and experience, which has been made obvious during his matches and allowed him to push into the first team for 2 of Liverpool’s 3 pre-season friendlies.
Why isn’t he out on loan getting some first team experience? Well, it appears as though Klopp plans on using him in the early rounds of cup competitions, and it is easier to manage a youth player while he is in your own youth academy as you get him used to his team-mates, the club’s culture, the coaching staff and Jurgen Klopp – all of which is useful to a player looking to have a prosperous career in one of England’s finest clubs.
Klopp also showed some disdain towards the way that Brendan Rodgers loaned away all the youth prospects without giving much thought to the players or the clubs they’re going to and the role they were likely to play in that club – this mainly refers to Andre Wisdom being loaned to Norwich City where he only made 14 first team appearances and failed to impress.
This has lead to Klopp’s obvious caution in loaning youth away, with a potential loan deal for Cameron Brannagan to go to Wigan Athletic falling through as they refused to include a clause with which he would play in at least 75% of they’re games, this appears to be haunting Wigan with their slow start to the season.
Ben Woodburn is a very promising youngster who is set to have a big career in football. He is definitely a player for the future and one to watch in our youth academy. A great kid with an even greater future.
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