So, I’m back to talk about the best that the Liverpool youth system and first team have to offer, and the first name on the docket is none other than that of academy starlet, Ben Woodburn. The talented Welshman broke into the first-team last season and is looking to go from strength to strength, this. Into these.
- Full Name: Benjamin Woodburn
- Height: 5ft, 9in.
- Date of Birth: October 15, 1999. (Age 18)
- Place of Birth: Chester, England
- Nationality: Wales
- First Team Appearances^: 10
- First Team Goals^: 1
- International Appearances*: 6
- International Goals*: 1
*Senior Appearances only. ^Competitive Competitions only.
- Liverpool Academy Player of the Season 2016-17
- [LFC] Youngest-ever Goalscorer (17 years and 45 days)
Initially joining Liverpool Football Club at under-7 level, Ben Woodburn is one of the most talked about young players in the Premier League, with everyone as far as now former-Wales boss, Chris Coleman singing the young man’s praises, and in the ten appearances he has made for the first team, he has been desperate to show the world and the entire Liverpool fan-base what he is capable of.
Woodburn made his first-team debut in a non-competitive game against Tranmere Rovers in pre-season of last season. He then not only scored, but also got an assist in Liverpool’s next pres-season friendly as the Reds ran out 5-0 winners. His competitive debut came in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Sunderland in last season’s Premier League on November 26, last year, becoming Liverpool’s third youngest debutante in the process.
Three days later, Woodburn made history once again by becoming Liverpool’s youngest ever goalscorer by coming off the bench in a quarter-final EFL Cup tie with Leeds, beating Michael Owen’s record by 98 days.
Woodburn started off life at the club as a winger but has since been pushed back into midfield by the three different managers that he has been playing under, where his passing talents are put to much better use. Ben was also made captain of the under-19 squad for this season’s UEFA Youth League, which works in a very similar way to the way that PL2 works, but mirroring the Champions League. Woodburn has been ever-present for Steven Gerrard’s young Reds as they have stormed to the top spot in their group, beating Sevilla 4-0.
He’s starting to become regular in his national side’s setup too. As a Wales U18 international, he made his debut during the 2015-16 campaign at the age of 15, and ended the campaign as joint-top scorer. Going on to make his senior debut against Austria earlier this year, scoring a 25-yard wonder-strike to lift Wales to a 1-0 win over the Austrians. This also made him the second youngest goalscorer in Wales history, with only Gareth Bale managing to score for the national side at a younger age. He also earned a nomination for the European Golden Boy award for his exploits last season, with a nomination for PL2 Player of the Season to boot. Both him and Trent Alexander-Arnold got tipped for the award but it ended being handed to Swansea’s Oliver McBurnie.
What’s next for Woodburn?
The 18-year-old signed a new, 5-year contract on October 25 this year, meaning that the young, welsh prospect will be staying with the Reds until at least 2022. In the long-term, Liverpool will be hoping that Ben will be able to break into the the first team on a more regular basis, and not just appear for twenty minutes here and there and in the cup competitions. In the more short-term, Woodburn has a knockout campaign in the UEFA Youth League to look forward to, with the Reds already qualifying for the next stage of the competition. Hopefully the young red will continue his successes in PL2 to go alongside captaining the u19s. We’re lucky to have him.
Who’s next? Dominic Solanke.