A real flair for scoring goals and a beaming personality to match. Liverpool supporters have been taking note of Rhian Brewster all season.
After playing at U16 level only a year ago, the Academy striker has made a seamless transition from U18 level to U23s football in 2016-17, scoring and providing two assists in his last outing as Mike Garrity’s side came back from a goal down to beat Leicester City 3-1.
A place on the first-team bench at Anfield on Sunday was the latest reward for his progress, after he impressed during recent training sessions at Melwood.
And as Liverpool U23s prepare to take on Manchester City at Prenton Park tonight, a game you can watch live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO, Garrity has explained the attributes behind Brewster’s remarkable rise.
“Rhian is a lovely boy with a fantastic personality and he has only just turned 17,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I was delighted for him when he scored and got two assists in our last game against Leicester City and he is doing well.
“He has got huge potential. What he has to do is continue to work hard on the training field, keep listening to the coaches around him and the support that he is getting, which I know he does.
“He is an exciting player and if he keeps going in the right direction then I’m sure the Liverpool fans are going to see a lot more of him in the future.
“The good thing with Rhian is he is level-headed and doesn’t get too far ahead of himself. He is a down to earth kid and he has got a family that keep his feet firmly on the ground.
“He is developing nicely, he knows there is a lot of hard work that lies ahead, but after making the step up from the U18s to the U23s we are pleased with him.”
Reflecting on his side’s comeback at Leicester last Monday, Garrity was encouraged with the fighting spirit shown by the young Reds.
He added: “The lads take full credit for coming back to win the game because they are the ones on the pitch who delivered.
“It was a scrappy game and one we knew was going to be very physical and we had to fight for everything. We were good in the second half and played with a lot more intensity.
“We told the lads at half-time if we show we can compete and fight in the right way then we were sure our quality we have in the team would come through, which of course it did.
“Hopefully on Monday night we can start the game in the first minute rather than the 47th minute.”
Manchester City are just one place above the Reds in Premier League 2 and have the deciding leg of the FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea to come on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge, with that particular tie finely balanced at 1-1 after the first game.
Whatever personnel City put onto the field, though, Garrity is expecting a tough test in his side’s final home fixture of the season.
“They are one place above us in Premier League 2, they are a good team with really good players, and in the last couple of years we have had some really entertaining games against them,” he said.
“We have to be at our best but we have good players as well as they do and we are looking forward to it.
“We know we need to play well and against a team like Manchester City, you have to take your chances when you get them.
“We also have to make sure we don’t let City get into their game rhythm because when they do with the players they have got, they are difficult to stop.
“We need to play with a good intensity and when we get on the ball show the quality we possess as well, and we need to defend well.”
With a trip to Everton and Goodison Park set to finish off the Premier League 2 season on May 8, it is an exciting end to a great year for the Academy, with players such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn, Harry Wilson and Ovie Ejaria having made their first-team debuts.
Garrity insists the message to the players will be for them to give maximum effort as they aim to one day get the senior opportunity they all dream about.
He added: “We have two difficult but great games and we need to try to finish the season as strongly as we can.
“Every time these lads put on the red shirt it’s an opportunity to be judged and we tell them that every single time they go out there.
“Our manager watches all of our games and they know they must take these opportunities.”