Matthew Sinton discusses what’s on the horizon for Sheyi Ojo after the young winger returned to training this week.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that 19-year-old Sheyi Ojo has now returned to training. After a lengthy spell on the sidelines, it may be difficult for him to get first team chances for a while, but I believe he can do it, and he will prove to Jurgen Klopp that it’s the right decision if he gets an opportunity.
Sheyi has recently become a player who the fans are very much aware of in recent months. He was sent out on loan to Wolves at the beginning of last season, but with a depleted squad in the winter, Klopp saw something in him and decided to recall him in late December.
He was almost immediately given a chance in the early rounds of the FA Cup against Exeter – in the replay at Anfield he netted his first goal for the Reds, and what a first goal it was. He was also given a good run of games towards the end of the Premier League season and ended the campaign with 1 goal and 4 assists in 450 minutes in all competitions. That’s a goal or assist every 90 minutes. Not bad for a then 18 year old, eh?
On top of this, he got five goals and one assist in seven games for the U21s (or U23s now). He also managed four assists in three games for England at the U19 European championships. A consistently excellent performer at youth level, he is, in my opinion, ready for more first team opportunities.
Following England’s exit from the U19 Euros, Sheyi chose not to take an extra break and went straight on our pre season tour of America, just the attitude I like to see from a young player hoping to break through.
He impressed again, scoring in our 2-1 loss to Roma, however, he was sent home early after complaining of back pain and was expected to be out for around a month. His injury was longer than expected but in late September when he looked almost ready to make a return, he suffered another setback.
It’s looking good now, though, as he has returned to training and should be ready to play within the next few weeks. He broke the news on Instagram, “Back running. The return is near.”
First team minutes may be difficult to come by for Sheyi at the moment and he must be ready to make the absolute best of every chance he gets. As a winger, his competition comes in the form of Phillipe Coutinho and Sadio Mane, two of the first names on the team sheet right right now.
He could be given a chance in our next round of the EFL Cup against Leeds United, and almost certainly will be in the early rounds of the FA Cup in the new year. Perhaps, when Mane leaves for the African Cup of Nations early next year, Ojo could be given the chance to prove himself in the first team. I certainly hope so.