Liverpool under-23s will soon have a key player back from injury. Layton Stewart scored 17 goals for the underage sides last season before succumbing to a knee injury in March.
But coach Barry Lewtas thinks his star-man will be ready to play again before the end of the season.
“Layton is progressing really well and has been working ever so hard,” says Lewtas as per The Liverpool Echo.
“He is feeling really good. He’s only a young boy so we have to make sure, especially with that type of injury, is that they heal and they heal properly. What you don’t want is doing anything silly with his recovery when he is at that age.”
It’s good to hear Lewtas erring on the side of caution. Liverpool have several players with poor injury records on their books. The last thing they need is their talented youngsters incurring the same problems after coming back from serious injuries early in their careers.
Goals galore in the youth teams
Prior to his injury, Stewart had been on fire. After scoring goals and captaining the side at under-18 level, he progressed to the under-23s. He scored in games against Chelsea and Arsenal before picking up the ACL injury in a game against West Ham United.
We highlighted him as one to watch just before his injury last year and it’s clear that the 19-year-old’s coach is looking forward to his return.
“We will see him again this season. It’s just a matter of gradually building him up in training and working with contact again,” said Lewtas.
“To be fair, I’ll be climbing the walls if he isn’t back this season!”
Cautionary tales and reasons to be optimistic
Parallels can be drawn with fellow youngster Paul Glatzel. Glatzel had been even more prolific than Stewart for the under-18s before he was struck down with the same injury.
He has since found it hard to regain the same form. But a recent resurgence on loan at Tranmere suggests he may have finally put the injuries behind him.
Let’s hope Stewart can do the same for Liverpool too.