In this week's Academy column, Academy director Alex Inglethorpe talks about Jordan Rossiter's Barclays Premier League debut and Harry Wilson's youth loan to Crewe Alexandra.
It was a proud moment for everybody at the Academy on Monday night when Jordan made his Premier League debut for Liverpool. I think it did a number of things for the Academy. First and foremost it's a recognition of how hard Jordan has worked over a number of years, because this is a boy who has been with us since the age of six. It's great to see a local lad come through who has spent all of those hours working at the Academy.
Jordan is a terrific lad, he's wonderful to work with and he is a real example of what I believe an Academy player should be - low maintenance. He is very hard-working, he just gets on with his job and doesn't worry about what other people are doing and he just wants to compete. A lot of people have worked with him over the years here at the Academy, some of them will have gone and some people are still here. I think it's also a recognition that it's never down to one person or one coach, as lots of people have influenced him positively.
It also reinforces the point our manager Brendan Rodgers made when asked about Jordan’s role this season, because at a pivotal time in a tight game at the Emirates, to look at the bench and trust an 18-year-old at that stage not only reaffirms the courage the manager has and the belief he has in our young players, but it also sends out a message to our coaches that we have to show the same courage and bravery our first-team manager has.
After his injury last season it’s wonderful to see how well Jordan has responded and a great testimony to what the lad is all about. It was difficult for him last season because last season he had started ever so well and was looking at the next stage and was doing very well before he got injured. That is the life of a footballer, though, and he is very pragmatic in his approach. You never hear him moan about it, he just gets on with it.
He came back early for pre-season and was determined, as he always is, to make an impact, and was then fortunate to go away on tour with the first team. He earned the manager’s trust, which is a big thing. That is what Jordan has managed to do at every level he has represented this club because he is reliable with the ball and reliable off the ball.
His call-up for England U19s alongside Sheyi Ojo is richly deserved and we are always proud when our young players get international recognition. Cameron Brannagan and Ryan Kent are in the England U20 squad and that is a testimony to them as well as to how hard they have worked so far. We feel we have some really talented players here in Kirkby and when they look at Jordan they can be inspired by him and see what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.
I would like to say congratulations to Jordan Williams and Danny Ward, who have been called up by Chris Coleman for the full Wales squad for their forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Cyprus and Israel. I think it shows the power of being on loan and playing senior football. Jordan has made a great start alongside Kevin Stewart and Lawrence Vigouroux at Swindon Town and Danny has had a great time at Aberdeen.
If they weren’t playing senior football then the chances are that they may not have been recognised to make the full squad. They are competing at senior football week in, week out and it’s easier to judge where they are. I’m delighted for them, it’s a huge honour to be called up for your national team and I’ve no doubt if they play they will represent themselves and Liverpool really well.
This week we agreed a youth loan with Crewe Alexandra that will see Harry Wilson play League One football until January. I just feel for a lot of our players that have played in the U21s they can either stay here and try to help us win that league or go and play in a senior environment, which they need. Harry is one of those players that will benefit training alongside men every day and he will benefit from playing against senior players every day.
It’s not going to be easy, Harry knows that, but he had a very good pre-season and did well when he was included in the manager’s first-team squad for the pre-season tour. He needs to go and experience something a bit different now and Crewe is an excellent place to go and do that. There’s a nice link with Liverpool in the past, they are a good club full of good people, and I think it will be a great opportunity for Harry to show he is ready to play in a more extreme environment.
It was great to see Sheyi score the winner for Wolves in the Capital One Cup tie with Barnet this week. Sheyi is a player who had experience last year with Wigan Athletic and he is at another great club in Wolves. He has made a nice start and his next step now is to transfer that into making league appearances and scoring league goals. It will do his confidence no harm whatsoever to score that goal against Barnet, and hopefully now he can help Wolves in their bid to try to reach the Premier League.