Sheyi Ojo has linked up with the players selected for Liverpool's pre-season tour of America and revealed that he turned down the offer of time off to focus on his Liverpool career. After the Under-19 European Championship in Germany that ended in a semi-final defeat to Italy, Ojo headed to Liverpool's training camp in Palo Alto.
"The manager asked me if I wanted some time off after the Euros but I said I wanted to come straight here," the youngster said. "I was keen to be out here. I wanted to be part of this. I'm not too fussed about a holiday. It's been busy. After the end of last season I was working hard in the lead up to the Euros with the England training camp. It all paid off. The Euros were a great experience and I'm feeling fit now."
Ojo is probably aware the rise of Ovie Ejaria, a youngster with similar Nigerian roots. Ejaria has been one of the best players in pre-season so far and produced an eye-catching performance in the defeat to Chelsea. Pre-season sometimes allows young players an opportunity to display their talents alongside senior players, and Ojo benefited from going on tour last summer with the senior squad.
Jürgen Klopp is in charge this summer, though, bringing a different intensity and direction to this summer's pre-season preparations. It's a summer where there are many new faces and an opportunity for everyone to imbibe Klopp's methods as much as possible ahead of the league opener against Arsenal.
"It does feel different being on this tour," Ojo observed. "I am just eager to get on the pitch and try to impress the manager and everyone connected with Liverpool. I enjoyed getting on against Chelsea and now I'm looking forward to the Milan game. There are a lot of great players in this squad. It shows the direction the club is moving in and I am happy to be a part of it.
"I am just going to keep my head down and keep working hard. I want to get as many minutes as I can in the friendlies to try to show that I should be in and around the squad when the Premier League starts. I want to try to make an impact in every game. I need to make sure that if I get opportunities, I take them."
There could be a slot in the squad for a wildcard attacking option, especially with Lazar Marković being strongly linked with a move away from Merseyside. At only 19, the kid is showing all the signs of a dedicated professional who is thinking strategically to better his chances of impressing the manager whenever possible.
It's exciting to think that the likes of Ejaria and Ojo could break through over the next couple of years with a little bit of healthy competition to push them on.