Ki-Jana Hoever’s decision to leave Liverpool last summer caught us all by surprise, to say the least.
The 19-year-old chose to swap Anfield for Molineux after agreeing to join Wolves back in September. Six months after ending his Reds tenure, Hoever looks back with no regrets.
“Sometimes I feel old,” the 19-year-old laughed, during an interview with Goal.
“It feels like I’ve been around for a long time, you know?”
Hoever makes a good point. It’s ridiculous to think that it’s been over two years since he made his competitive debut for Liverpool in the FA Cup back in January 2019.
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Ironically, Hoever’s big moment came at Molineux, where at just 16 years and 354 days, he became the third-youngest player in Reds history.
Having originally joined from Ajax in the summer of 2018, Hoever made an immediate impression on Jurgen Klopp after successfully marking Mohamed Salah during his first training session.
In total, Hoever would go on to clock up four appearances for Liverpool, scoring once in the League Cup against MK Dons.
Utilised as either a centre-back or at right-back, Hoever was placed in a difficult situation with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Neco Williams above the Dutchman in Klopp’s defensive pecking order.
And as a result, he spent the majority of last season playing with Liverpool’s U23s.
Still, despite the competition for places at Anfield, his decision to leave caught a number of supporters off guard. The deal to take him to Wolves was worth a guaranteed £9 million ($12.5m), with £4.5m ($6.25m) in potential add-ons and a 15 per cent sell-on clause included.
Hoever on Liverpool exit
Reflecting on the events that transpired half-a-year-ago, Hoever said: “It wasn’t an easy choice, but it wasn’t that hard either.”
“I knew my playing time would be more than at Liverpool, that’s why I made the decision. I thought it was the best thing for my career in the moment.
“Now of course with the injuries [at Liverpool], you don’t know, but I don’t think like that. I just thought like, if everyone was fit, how much game time would I have? Liverpool have such a great team still, maybe the best back four in the world, so it was really hard for me to break through there.
“And here the idea was good. I would be really involved in the squad, really a first-team player. It’s basically been what I expected, but I know I can still do better than this. It’s a good first season so far.”
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Hoever has settled in well at Wolves. After being handed his debut against West Ham days after signing, the World Cup-winning youth international has clocked up 12 appearances under Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Wolves boss clearly trusts his summer signing, too, with Nuno utilising Hoever against the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester.
Renowned for his pace, athleticism and quality in possession, Hoever has taken up his role as a wing-back in a 3-4-3 system with aplomb.
It’s no wonder, too, given the calibre of opponents Hoever has been forced to line-up against in training.
Having spent the best part of two years trying to contain the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Hoever now is tasked with going up against the likes of Adama Traore and Pedro Neto on a daily basis – talk about an early education.
Despite having already built up quite the footballing CV, it’s astonishing to think what is still ahead of the former Liverpool man. Make no mistake, Wolves have some player on their hands.