Watching youth prospects fills me with a particular mix of anxiety and existential dread. The latter is brought on by the reminder that I have not, in fact, managed to stop the march of time. The former by the fact that so many youth will never touch the upper echelons of their given sport. And that sense of pure attrition - that so many of these young dreams will necessarily end up dashed - is what breaks me up so much.
So, it is with a real sense of hope and joy that I celebrate when someone from the academy makes that step up to the first team. Watching the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, in particular, who has become an indispensable cog in this very special team after taking hold of his opportunity is a real treat.
Hoping to follow in his footsteps is one Paul Glatzel. The forward - turning 18 this week - is the captain of the U-18s with some performances for the U023s and has made quite the impression in his time at Liverpool’s Academy. Those performances have been rewarded with the club securing his services with a professional contract, indicating that the front office apprise his ability enough to believe he’s got a future.
This is terrific news for Liverpool fans and doubly so because the skilled striker is Scouse. Following the departure of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, there was a bit of wonder as to who might emerge from Melwood and, more, what Scouse heroes might take the next step. That was answered over the last season and a half by Trent Alexander-Arnold and, if he continues to progress, might soon also apply to Paul Glatzel.
Here’s hoping the young lad can continue to build on his performances and progress to pushing for a spot in the first team. Because it would be quite the special moment to have our own homegrown players to cheer on every weekend.