Liverpool’s senior team is one of the leading teams in Europe. Challenging in the Champions League and leading the pack into the second half of this year’s Premier League campaign, it’s clear that LFC have taken hold of the soccer world’s imagination with their success and beautiful style of play. Coupled with a talented roster that sports world class stars like Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Alisson Becker, and Virgil Van Dijk, it’s clear that the esteem of the first team is well earned.
Goings on in the academy have been a bit less clear, however. Mostly because the nature of youth development is so scattershot. It is pretty well accepted that only the smallest of percentages of most youth within systems will make their way to the first team. It’s quite obvious that despite Barcelona’s golden generation under Pep and even the presence of both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher for Liverpool, the likelihood of fielding a team loaded with the prospects fans no and root for is simply low.
Still, we hope. We hope because it’s fun to see a homegrown youngster make it. We hope because their dreams might offer us a small measure of hope ourselves, that we can make it past indomitable odds. We hope because we want to see them find a golden ending at the end of their mazy run.
And that’s why we follow the movement at the academy. So, today, the club has offered us a small tidbit of news for one of the players in the academy set up: 21-year old winger Taiwo Awoniyi.
In circumstances that highlight the highly tumultuous nature of youth development, Awoniyi agreed to go on loan with Belgian side Gent for the whole of the 2018-2019 campaign. Despite making 22 appearances and notching 3 goals, both sides decided to bring the loan to a mutual end, with Awoniyi announcing an agreement to finish out this year with Belgian side Royal Excel Mouscron. It’s a situation that mimics the experience of Ovie Ejaria, who decided to end his stint with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers at the winter break before heading to Reading for the rest of this season.
One must wonder how the volatility in movement and playing under various managers and systems must necessarily challenge a player. The number of potential careers likely stalling out due to things they can’t control.
Here’s hoping, then, that Awoniyi and other academy products are able to find their place and, hopefully, do so for a Liverpool fanbase eager and excited to see graduates from the academy come good.