If actions speak louder than words, Ben Woodburn has been shouting on the football pitch for the past year.
It was on a late autumn evening 11 months ago that the teenager became the youngest goalscorer in Liverpool history – aged 17 years and 45 days – with an emphatic, Kop-end finish against Leeds United in the League Cup.
Eyes wide and arms outspread in celebration, the quiet boy from Chester marked the moment with a rare outpouring of emotion.
Jürgen Klopp, keen to manage expectations from the off, urged reporters inside Anfield that night to simply write ‘Goalscorer, Ben Woodburn’ in their summaries.
The boss’ hopeful request of course went unfulfilled and since then Woodburn has provided plenty more reasons for his name to feature further in column inches.
Take his senior Wales’ debut last month, for example.
Sent on in the 69th minute with the score goalless against Austria, the forward slammed an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards to replenish his nation’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
“Ben is quite an unassuming character, he’s very quiet,” Danny Ward, a teammate for club and country, told Liverpoolfc.com. “But when it comes to football he’s got a real hunger.
“The way he announced himself in that game – in such a big game as well, where it was crucial we got the three points otherwise we’d have been really struggling even to finish as a runner-up in the group – I was obviously delighted for him.
“I actually mentioned it to one of the boys on the bench, that he’d come on and the way Ben is, something would happen for him – either he’d get an assist or score. It was a fantastic strike.”
Three days later, Woodburn made another pivotal impact from the bench for Wales.
With a stalemate unfolding once more, this time at Moldova, he powered down the left wing and flung in a cross that Hal Robson-Kanu converted to open the scoring in what ultimately became a 2-0 win.
So it came as little surprise when the Liverpool No.58 was named Wales’ Young Player of the Year earlier this week – nor that the accolade was taken firmly in stride by its recipient.
“It’s a massive award and there have been loads of top players in the past that have won it, so it’s a great feeling. I just try to stay the same,” said Woodburn.
He is achieving that latter aim, too.
After fantasy became reality on the international stage in September, the 17-year-old returned to Melwood unaffected by the exploits that had caught the world’s eye.
So much so, any words Klopp might have prepared to ensure Woodburn’s feet remained planted on the ground were rendered unnecessary by the player himself.
“A lot of things could be not too positive in this situation… Ben is a fantastic boy, outstanding-skilled and very young still,” the Reds manager said recently.
“So now you play for Wales and you come back and another boy would misunderstand the situation and it could be a problem, but he is just fantastic.
“We had a very good, even when it was very short, talk about it. I wanted to explain why the situation is different here but he said ‘no boss, I know’ so all good.
“He doesn’t expect [too much] in this moment.
“He takes each minute as a fantastic opportunity to help whichever team, that’s the best ground and the best basis to have a really nice career – what he for sure will have. How we all think, not hope, but think is that this career will be here.”
The attacker’s first-team opportunities have been restricted to a single appearance so far in 2017-18, though his influence has contributed to the U23s recording six successive Premier League 2 victories.
And a new challenge in European football is available this season in the form of the UEFA Youth League, with Woodburn captaining an U19s side led by Steven Gerrard.
Each game is approached with the same vibrancy, each responsibility taken with the same level-headedness, each chance to impress grabbed.
“That’s testament to his mentality. People sometimes forget he is only 17, he’s still a boy,” Ward continued.
“But obviously he has got qualities that everyone can see and he has shown the world that on the international stage. It’s just a case of him carrying on learning and not getting carried away.
“I don’t think he would ever be like that because he is such a grounded lad. He’s concentrated on the training pitch and he takes it all in. You can see that from the way he can play in a number of positions seamlessly; he can play as a No.8, No.10, on the wings or as a No.9. He seems to know every position perfectly. Tactically, he’s very, very bright for someone who is only 17.
“It can only be good for us at Liverpool.”
But just how good, potentially?
Ward added: “He has got bags full of potential and bags of ability. What he has accomplished already at 17 is amazing and brilliant for him.
“He has got the right people around him who will keep him grounded. He’s just got to keep learning from the manager and the fantastic players we’ve got here. We’ve got some great role models here for him. Hopefully that can all develop him even more.
“The world could be his oyster – he could be a top, top player. Hopefully he gets there.”