Youngster Karl Clair has paid tribute to Liverpool's Academy as he prepares to embark upon a new life away from his boyhood club.
The tricky forward was seen as one of the Reds' brightest prospects until injury curtailed his development following an appearance in the 2009 Youth Cup final.
Since then the 18-year-old has battled to overcome a serious knee problem and will now attempt to kickstart his career at Loughborough University's Nike Academy following the end of season tour in the Caribbean.
Clair told Liverpoolfc.tv: "The Caribbean tour was superb. It's a great way to go. It was a really nice gesture from Rodolfo (Borrell) and the staff to take me because they could have just said that I'm leaving the club so I don't need to go.
"But they didn't and I've had a great time. It was the perfect way to bring a close to my seven years at the club.
"It's sad to say goodbye to these lads because they are a good bunch. I spent the week with Conor (Coady) in St Vincent and he's a top lad. Hopefully he'll get some minutes with the first-team next season.
"There's a lot of talent in this group and it'll be interesting to see how they get on in the future.
"I'm taking a different route but won't give up."
Clair's knee injury ultimately put paid to his hopes of making a big impact upon the U18s this season and he has been forced to look on as his teammates have enjoyed one of the finest campaigns in the Academy's history.
He admits it has been hugely frustrating to watch from the sidelines but feels he is now ready to move on thanks to the help of the medical team in Kirkby.
He said: "It started off as patella tendonitis in my left knee. It muddled on for nine months or so. I came back for pre-season this year and I just didn't seem to be able to get back to the level that I was at.
"I fully understand why I haven't played. At the beginning of the season I was a bit wary of it and didn't want to push myself in case it went again.
"But I feel good now and I'd like to thank Andy Renshaw and Dave Galley as well as all of the other staff who have helped me in some way because they gave me the chance to develop as a player.
"I've played a few games recently so I feel like I'm getting back to where I want to be. Hopefully I can come back like Adam Hammill did.
"I still love this club and the lads will always be my mates. But I've got a new challenge in Loughborough
"Our Education and Welfare Officer Clive Cook arranged it all for me. I didn't know much about it beforehand but it looks like it's a good way for me to stay in the game and try and find another club.
"It's mainly about football but has some courses involved too. Fingers crossed I can impress and find a new club in the not too distant future."
Clair's departure illustrates the other side of the Academy and the lengths the staff go to ensure that all of the players they bring through have something to aim for when they leave Kirkby.
Head of Education and Welfare Phil Roscoe said: "All the staff and players wish Karl all the best for the future.
"Karl is a player who has had to overcome a serious injury and this has severely affected his development as a player. He has received the very best treatment from Dave Galley, Andy Renshaw and Liam Kershaw over the past two seasons to help him regain his fitness.
"However, being injured for this amount of time is obviously an extremely difficult time for any player. Through this Karl has shown tremendous character and mental toughness to help him get to where he is now and also to be able to accept that he must look to further his playing career elsewhere.
"We all hope Karl will now have a consistent period of injury free time now and can hopefully re-enter the professional game at some point in the future.
"Every second year scholar who has not received a professional contract at Liverpool has now been able to continue their football career in various ways. Michael Ihiekwe has recently signed a professional contract at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Alex Whittle has joined the Glen Hoddle Academy, Marcus Giglio has become a full-time professional at TNS and Karl Clair, as highlighted, has signed a one year contract at the Nike academy which will be based at Loughborough University.
"Having players furthering their careers at other clubs or in different programs gives just as much satisfaction to all the staff here, as a player who is able to achieve a professional contract at Liverpool.
"I would like to say again, well done to all the players mentioned and they will continue to receive all the guidance and help they need from the staff at Liverpool."