Neil Critchley believes there is much more to come from Harry Wilson after the 20-year-old was rewarded for his encouraging recent displays by being nominated for the Premier League 2 Player of the Month award.
Having missed the whole of the pre-season programme and the start of 2017-18 due to an Achilles injury, the Welshman fired five goals in the division in September, including a first-half hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield.
Wilson also slotted home from close range during the Premier League Cup draw at Charlton Athletic last time out - and Critchley is delighted with his progress.
“I don’t think Harry will score an easier goal all season than the one he did against Charlton, but we were saying afterwards it was no coincidence that he was the one to tap it in across the line because he puts himself in goalscoring positions on a frequent basis,” the U23s manager told Liverpoolfc.com.
“That was his sixth goal for us this season and he is in really good goalscoring form at the moment.
“We were speaking with Harry the other day and saying to him if you look at where he was from the first time I came to the club four years ago to where he is now, he has made great progress when you think about the things he’s had to deal with, the highs, the lows, the setbacks that he’s had.
“It’s great to see how much his game has developed for the staff because that’s what development is. That is starting someone with a journey and seeing how they end up and Harry is obviously still on that journey.
“He’s part of the way through that journey but it’s not finished yet. I think Harry has made massive strides and for me to get some time with him over the next few months is brilliant.”
After being handed his first-team debut at Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup last season, Wilson ended the campaign training regularly at Melwood.
Asked how the winger can take another leap in his development, Critchley added: “I think at some point he will go into a senior environment and play games when he is going to get tested both physically and mentally.
“He’s going to have to do that [in games] twice a week to see if he can cope with the demands of men’s football.
“I’m sure if keeps playing well for us between now and January then maybe he will have some more options then.”
Another young player who has made a bright impression once again in 2017-18 is Rhian Brewster.
The striker bagged a maiden goal at Anfield last month, for the U23s against Spurs, and is currently away with England at the U17 World Cup in India.
Having helped the Young Lions reach the final of the U17 European Championship in May, Brewster is hoping his country can go one better and achieve glory.
Former Academy coach Steve Cooper is in charge of the England side, who kick off the tournament against Chile today before meetings with Mexico and Iraq.
Critchley revealed he and his staff will be cheering Brewster on from afar.
“It’s a great opportunity for Rhian to go and play in a World Cup for his country,” he added.
“I know it’s something Rhian is really excited about. England are in a tough group and he gets to go to a part of the world he hasn’t been to, plus the different challenges he will face.
“For his development, to go and play in that type of environment and playing in the World Cup is invaluable. I hope it goes well for him and also for us and he comes back injury-free as well!
“England had a warm-up game before the tournament and Rhian managed to score twice so fingers crossed it goes well for him and England do well and progress because I think that’s important for our country and our players in general.
“Rhian had a good European Championship with England and they went very close to winning it, and I’m sure with the players they have got they can do well in this tournament as well.”
Neither does the coach have any concerns about the prospect of Brewster becoming carried away by his progress for club and country.
He added: “You do forget how young he is and obviously last season he ended up on the bench for the first team in a Premier League game, which was a real rise for him.
“As staff we keep his feet on the ground and he is a very level-headed boy who is hungry to work, learn and get better - and that will stand him in good stead for the future.”