With all the first team accolades flying about it’s easy to forget some of the good progress we saw this season from some of Liverpool’s Academy graduates. Jürgen Klopp has placed emphasis on the club opening up clear lines between the youth and men’s team, even supporting a consolidation of Kirkby and Melwood into one giant footballing facility. Klopp is big on promoting the opportunity of first-team action to Academy prospects. And those with real promise should see an opening available to take that step up and train with the big boys.
Ben Woodburn has given his name some sparkle this season, rising up from featuring for just hundreds to scoring for Liverpool in the League Cup in front of thousands. He became the club’s youngest goalscorer this season after putting one passed Leeds United in the quarter-final. Seventeen-years-old.
“If someone had offered me back in August the season I’ve gone on to have,” said Woodburn, “I would definitely have taken it.
“I have tried to work my hardest all year and luckily it has paid off with the chances the manager has given me.”
For a young player rising up, hoping for more, hoping for support, hoping for knowledge and experience in the game, there can’t be many more managers superior to Klopp to feature for.
“Jürgen has been a great manager for me,” Woodburn said.
“He has helped me during my first year with the first team and given me chances. He has taught me a lot, both in terms of when we’re in possession and when we’re not.
“He has kept my feet on the ground. I couldn’t have asked for a better manager to start my career with.”
The next hurdle for the young Welshman will be staying power. He is young and there is time for ebbs and flows but, ultimately, cracking into regular-selection territory will be no small feat. This is a big league and Liverpool is a big club. And after witnessing the fervent support of Liverpool fans on their trip to Australia, Woodburn now understands just how impactful the Liverpool crest is around the globe.
“When you come to a place like this it really makes you realise just how big this club is and what it means to so many people all around the world, not just in England.”