AcademyU18s update: Morrison hat-trick, Stoke test and Spearing influence

By Steve Hunter


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Marc Bridge-Wilkinson has spoken of his pride in seeing the way his young Liverpool U18s side are developing so far this season, despite a number of regulars recently moving up to the U21s.

With the likes of Trey Nyoni making his Premier League 2 debut last weekend, a much-changed U18s line-up produced a superb performance to win 3-1 against Middlesbrough.

In the absence of top scorer Jayden Danns, Kieran Morrison, who turned 17 on Thursday, stood up to the plate as he netted a hat-trick.

The young Reds are back in action on Saturday as they head to Stoke City at their Clayton Wood Training Ground. Kick-off is set for 11.30am GMT and subscribers can watch the match live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO here.

Read on as Bridge-Wilkinson chats to about last weekend’s victory, Morrison’s shooting ability, and the influence of coach Jay Spearing on and off the field…

On last weekend’s impressive display against Middlesbrough…

It was a well-earned win, I thought. We created enough chances but they weren’t as clear-cut as we would have liked them to have been, but we did enough to win the game and it was pleasing the way we saw it out in the end.

On Morrison’s hat-trick…

One thing that Kieran can do is shoot and he loves to shoot, which is a great habit to have. On a day like that when he is concentrating on his technique and hitting the ball properly, it’s a really nice strike that he has got, so I was really pleased to see the goals that he got.

Kieran is a good technician. He is good with the ball at his feet, he likes to carry the ball and he can go past people and he can finish. He’s not afraid to risk the ball at the right times and try to create something for the team. When Kieran is playing well and he is full of energy he is a good player.

On the mature display at the back of 17-year-old Lucas Pitt…

We have a lot of young players in this team so it’s a learning curve for everybody in every game. I spoke to Lucas this week and we both agreed that was probably his best performance for us so far. I think at the start of the game he got caught a little bit out of position but once he had solved that problem and got his positioning right, I thought he was excellent. I was really pleased with Lucas and it’s really pleasing for us all that he was able to put in that type of performance.

On handing Wellity Lucky the captain’s armband now he’s free from injury…

Wellity is playing regular football again, which is so important. He is quite a quiet character and part of the reason of giving him the armband is trying to get him to communicate a bit better with staff, players, his teammates. I think he has done that and come out of his shell a bit further. He has still got a lot to do in terms of that side of it but he is definitely a really important player for us. We are just focusing on making sure that he can continue to play games and we don’t take any risks with him after last season, and allow him to develop as a footballer.

On Saturday’s trip to Stoke…

That’s always a really difficult away trip and it’s never easy. We’ve got to make sure we concentrate on the job in hand and compete, fight and scrap, do the hard and the dirty side of the game really well then hopefully we can have that extra quality and come out with a really positive performance.

On a number of young players, like Carter Pinnington, Amara Nallo, Josh Davidson and Nyoni, moving up to the U21s…

That’s the job. Quite simply, the job is allowing these players to perform and improve and then when they are ready for that next level or an opportunity arises then they can go and take it. Part of this role is you know you are only going to be working with certain players for a certain period of time and they will move forwards and go into Barry [Lewtas]’ group and then hopefully nudge them into the first-team squad. It’s like a conveyor belt of players coming through and we work with the ones in our group and keep pushing and prompting them and try to help them get to that next level.

On U18s assistant boss Spearing rolling back the years in a player-coach role on the pitch for the U21s at Barrow in midweek…

Jay is brilliant and we are very grateful to have him with us. I thought the first 55 minutes Jay was the best player on the pitch. He did extremely well and he coached on the pitch just like he does in training and definitely helped all of the young players around him. It was great to see him smiling and playing and showing the boys what it’s all about, so I was really pleased for him.



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