After impressing in Liverpool’s pre-season tour of America, Welsh international playmaker Ben Woodburn is set for a summer loan move to Aston Villa.
Some tipped the youngster for game time this campaign after a frustrating season in 17-18, which was pockmarked by injury and a reduced showing for the first team. The teenager has certainly never let anyone down when he has played, but with the squad now significantly bolstered and expectation so high, it would be in the player’s best interests to get some game time under his belt, away from the club.
Well trodden path
Many have called for the youngsters who have impressed in the under 23s in recent seasons to get more minutes in the first team. The idea of a multitude of young, home grown talent, coming out of the club’s academy is romantic but sadly, a remote possibility.
Harry Wilson, Ryan Kent, Sheyi Ojo and Woodburn have all played some games over the past couple of seasons but their impact has been minimal.
Since scoring on his debut against Leeds United, Woodburn hit the ground running for Liverpool but has since seen his status take a tumble somewhat. A more natural number ten, he has a significant host of quality players ahead of him.
The loan spell which now looks certain for him, is one which could really give his career an extra shot in the arm.
If he goes to Villa, he’ll join a team with realistic ambition of a return to Premier League football. The pressure there will be significant and a real chance to prove his worth. It could be a wise move.
A loan move away from the club is no longer an alarming development for players trying to break in to the first team. It offers the chance for valuable game time and yo build some form at a crucial stage.
Still only eighteen, Woodburn already has almost twenty senior appearances under his belt as well as competitive goals for Liverpool and Wales. However, the club will be conscious of the clock already ticking on the Welshman’s fledgling career.
The harsh reality is, he will need to dramatically improve his game if he is to make a memorable impact at Anfield.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a great example if just how good you have to be to make at that age. A few flashes of quality and clever turns wouldn’t cut it.
Liverpool must now take the next step in their journey with Klopp. There can be no space for charitable notations of extending the arm for unsuitable youngsters. If Woodburn is in the team it will be off his own merits and talent.