The next generation of Liverpool players are being urged to take the opportunity and follow in the footsteps of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones.
The UEFA Youth League has long been seen as an important indicator for Liverpool’s youth.
Curtis Jones, Neco Williams, Rhys Williams, Harvey Elliott, and Caoimhin Kelleher have all performed admirably in the tournament and are on their approach to making the first team.
After being denied the opportunity to test themselves against Europe’s best last season due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the Reds’ latest crop of aspirants will now be granted the chance to do so.
Liverpool face AC Milan at Kirkby this afternoon in the start of their fourth UEFA Youth League campaign (kick-off 1pm).
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Mateusz Musialowski, James Balagizi, and Melkamu Frauendorf, who rose to prominence during last season’s march to the FA Youth Cup final, and Kaide Gordon, the 16-year-old who made a tremendous impression on the first team during the summer, will face a new task.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, who will be in charge of a Reds under-19 side, feels the event will help them progress faster.
“It’s not only about this competition,” he tells The Washington Newsday, “but it does provide players a better exposure, both to the European game and to diverse cultures and environments.”
“For example, these lads aren’t used to traveling abroad for one-off games; they’ve done it before for competitions where they play multiple matches rather than just one.
“We’ve arrived in the real world. That is novel in and of itself. Hopefully, we will be able to pick up information fast.
“We had a good run in the Youth Cup last season, and this may now add to that.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone to have a taste of a different brand of football and to play against players from all over Europe.”
Gordon, like Conor Bradley, Tyler Morton, Owen Beck, Billy Koumetio, and Max Woltman, has been fast-tracked to the U23s but is still eligible for the UEFA Youth League.
The U18s of Bridge-Wilkinson have started the season unblemished, with in-form 17-year-old striker Oakley Cannonier scoring six goals in three games.
“Oakley has had a great start to the season, but that doesn’t surprise me,” Bridge-Wilkinson says. “I’ve known him since he was a kid.” “The summary comes to an end.”