Liverpool U21s manager Michael Beale has hailed the progress of youngster Sergi Canos while out on loan at Championship club Brentford.
The Spaniard celebrated extending his spell with the Bees until the end of the season in style by netting a winner at the weekend, a wonderful individual goal in a 2-1 victory away to Reading.
The former Barcelona trainee has been in sensational form following his temporary move in September, finding the net three times in 17 appearances, and Beale couldn’t hide his delight about the youngster’s performances this season.
“We're so proud of Sergi,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. “You never know how a young boy goes out on loan and how they're going to handle it. It's similar when a boy goes into the first-team environment.
“But Sergi has grown in strength week-in-week-out. That's his second goal in three games and we're very proud.
“We have a little group text that goes around all the players, so the goal was put on there and everyone was wishing him well. All the boys out on loan are in regular contact with us.
“I can [see progress] from playing with men, he's a player that likes physical contact so I never had a doubt that he wouldn't be able to play with men. But I think going into a man's environment every day where the changing room is different for him [has helped].
“Coming over from Spain to play in the English Championship is a test for any player, but Sergi has just kicked on. Every season he has been here, he's kicked on further and further. It's his third year with us and at the moment he's in a fantastic place.
“There's not many players of his age playing regularly in the Championship and there's no one having the same impact.
“No pressure on him but if he can continue doing what he's doing then we'll see where that'll lead. I think that he'll go on to have a very good career.”
Speaking after his side’s 0-0 draw with Fleetwood Town in a friendly at Kirkby on Tuesday, the boss also provided an update on those members of the Academy who are out on loan or currently injured.
He added: “[Ryan McLaughlin] came back around three weeks ago because he just felt he needed to build up his fitness. Now we go into the next game in January free to play him because the loan deal with Aberdeen has ended.
“He's had an injury-ravaged couple of years but actually the first part of this season he's been fit all the time. He looked sharp today, that’s 45 minutes in the bag for him and I think he’ll kick on and play a big part in the U21s in the second half of the season if he doesn't go out on loan again.
“Kevin [Stewart] is back at Swindon, he's been back there a couple of weeks now and I'm hoping that he'll be involved in the game they have on New Year's day.
“Jordan Williams, Jack Dunn and Lloyd Jones are all in the mix of their rehab. Dunny is the closest one to being fit, he'll be fit in the next two or three weeks
“Jordan is back out running and Lloyd is just about to start that work so no exact timescale on them.
“Young Daniel Cleary also took a knock in training this week so he's probably going to be out for ten days to two weeks then he'll be back as well.”