Liverpool have been investing heavily in their academy in recent years. The latest addition to the youth setup was Vitor Matos, brought in as elite development coach from FC Porto. It appears that the Reds’ faith in their youngsters is paying off as Neco Williams has scored again for Wales. Are Liverpool onto something special with their academy?
The Welsh defender announced himself to Kopites at the end of October. The 18-year-old played the full 90 minutes as the Reds played out a thrilling 5-5 draw with Arsenal at Anfield, with the hosts winning out on penalties.
Williams was mobbed by Liverpool players in the dying moments after he dug out the cross which Divock Origi promptly converted to give the Reds an injury time equaliser. His talent was evident throughout the game and he has continued to impress on the international stage.
Over the break we have seen Neco Williams score twice from the spot for Wales U19s against Russia and once from open play against Kosovo. The Young Dragons beat the Kosovans 2-0, with Williams netting the second goal in the 76th minute.
The attacking prowess of the young full back could be an indicator that Liverpool are successfully producing a line of revolutionary full backs.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has torn up the rule book in recent seasons. He has become the team’s most creative player despite playing at right back.
Neco Williams appears to have been studying the first teamer and must be being coached in a similar fashion. With Williams bagging an assist on his Liverpool debut and scoring three times over the international break, he is showing that Melwood is getting the most out of their full backs going forward.
If Williams continues to progress and impress, in coming seasons he could push for a spot in the first team. This could trigger the long awaited switch of Alexander-Arnold into centre midfield. Whatever is going on at Melwood, it is working. Fingers crossed we continue to see our academy players performing in the style of their first team seniors.