Ben Woodburn has had a whirlwind week. Last Saturday the 17-year-old academy player came on in the dying minutes of Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Sunderland in the Premier League. It was a small contribution, but it was his first appearance for the senior squad, and even the chance to come on as a time-wasting substitute is a tremendous opportunity.
Woodburn was then given a greater chance to impress on Tuesday in the League Cup against Leeds United. The Welsh youth international came off the bench in the 67th minute for Kevin Stewart and went on to score the second goal in the 81st minute, which proved to be enough to see Leeds off.
In other words, the young man is flying high. Which led former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher— himself an academy graduate who broke into the first team as a teenager— to offer some words of caution for Woodburn.
“Ben Woodburn has had a week he will never forget and I know how it feels to score in front of the Kop as a teenager. I also know you require one key virtue after such a big moment and that is patience. After I scored on my full debut as a 19-year-old against Aston Villa on January 18 1997, I didn’t start another game for Liverpool until September 22 1997. It doesn’t stop your world changing, though, and I remember dropping back down to play an A team game shortly after I came on the scene. You become aware there are more eyes on you and plenty of people want to make a mark on you. Suddenly you are a target.”
Carra also took a moment to praise the performance of Trent Alexander-Arnold, another academy player who put in a strong performance at right-back for the Reds on Tuesday night.