For Layton Stewart, 2020 has certainly been a year to remember.
In terms of making a lasting impact, the 18-year-old academy star could have done little more to have caught the attention of first team manager, Jurgen Klopp.
The Liverpool-born teenager has a sensational 13 goals in nine Premier League North U18 matches this season.
He has also become a prominent feature in Barry Lewtas’ U23s set-up in recent weeks, clocking up appearances against Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur.
Such sustained brilliance for Liverpool’s academy sides have placed Stewart among some of the best up-and-coming strikers in the country.
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Stewart is the highest scorer in youth football this season alongside Tottenham teenager Dane Scarlett, who also has 13 goals. Although he has played in one more U18’s fixture than Stewart.
Having scored 11 times in 12 Premier League appearences during 2019/20, it’s fair to say Stewart has taken things up a level this term.
At the half-way stage of the season, there is every possibility he could still double his current tally next year.
This could be difficult if Stewart spends more time with the U23s, although gaining more experience at a higher level certainly offers more long-term value to the striker’s career prospects.
Seizing his opportunity
Injuries to the likes of Paul Glatzel and Joe Hardy have helped provide Stewart with a chance, but this is a byproduct of his outstanding form with the U18s.
Liverpool are giving him the chances he needs at U23 level, while still mixing him in with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and the U18s to ensure he gets enough game time.
There is no denying that Stewart is a special talent with a bright future, who still has a long way to go if he is to make it at the home of the English champions.
A few months into the season, however, he certainly will have Klopp paying attention.
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