As is always the case for a big club with aspirations of producing homegrown talent to supplement its stable of international superstars, Liverpool possesses a trove of gifted, young footballers, most of whom will sadly never feature for the first team. All the way down at the U-6 level, players don the Liverpool red and dream of one day climbing all the way to the top of the heap.
Harry Wilson hasn't been at the club quite that long — having joined in 2005, at the age of eight — but he is increasingly looking like one of the gifted few who might prove good enough for the Champions League aspirations of the Reds. There is no shortage of skilful attackers in the Liverpool youth ranks — Sheyi Ojo, Toni Gomes, Ben Woodburn, Yan Dhanda, and Rhian Brewster, to name a few — but Wilson is the one who has been charged with captaining the U23s this season. Despite captaincy not being a role traditionally held by attacking players, U23s boss Mike Garrity felt Wilson would be the right choice.
“People lead in different ways and Harry is not a shouter, but I think he leads by action more than vocally," said the former U18s assistant manager.
“The decision to give him the captain’s armband was to give him more responsibility on the pitch in terms of being more accountable for his actions, and when you are captain you have to do that and think about other people and not just yourself.
“I think it has helped Harry and it has given him a lot of confidence because he knows how much we believe in him and how much faith we have in him because he has got a lot of ability.”
With that left peg and those cheekbones, one wouldn't think confidence was in short supply for the 20-year old, and having netted 28 times this season, his performances should keep it soaring. Captaincy seems a mere bonus, but Garrity wants to provide every opportunity for the Welsh international to prove he can make the grade.
“He has put in consistent performances at U23 level with goals and assists, and he got the recognition from Melwood," Garrity continued. "He has made the jump over there and he has done well.
“Harry has helped the U23s team in more ways than one and he has gone from strength to strength. He is another boy who is level-headed with his feet on the ground.
“He has got to continue working hard and keep developing the strengths that he has got and become outstanding at what he does, and then hopefully we can see him break through.”
Wilson has managed to consistently retain a high star at the academy since bursting onto the scene as a 16-year old, staying healthy and avoiding long runs of bad form. His combination of athleticism, technical ability, game intelligence and application makes him a formidable prospect, and if he displays enough maturity in his game that he can provide Sadio Mané with a backup next season, then the club will be all the better for it.