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One to Watch: Liverpool’s 18-year-old forward Ben Woodburn

Woodburn
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool

One to Watch: Liverpool’s 18-year-old forward Ben Woodburn

Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…

Ben Woodburn has showed clear glimpses of a bright future already.

Despite struggling for first-team minutes in a loaded Liverpool attacks, Woodburn’s few performances in the senior team have been compounded on either side by excellent UEFA Youth League form and early signs of a sterling international career with Wales.

His first international goal against Austria last season was a vital one, scored minutes after coming on for his international debut in World Cup qualifying.

Now, he truly begins his senior career in the Sky Bet Championship with Sheffield United.

Play Style

Lacking an outstanding physical trait, Woodburn’s game is predicated around his ball carrying ability and his manipulation of spaces in the final third.

There he excels. Whether it is carrying the ball into the penalty box himself from his favoured left wing, or taking up positions in the penalty box himself, the Welshman loves to be impactful.

He is not a wide player that becomes isolated out wide.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

His goal-scoring record at youth level suggests that.

However, it will be interesting to see how he will be able to translate his willingness to drift centrally into senior football, where spaces will be tighter, and defences will be tougher.

He is not one dimensional, though.

Sheffield United’s loanee will look to lead the offensive transition in counter-attacking situations.

Conversely, when presented with less space he can play with his back to goal and look to connect with the other attackers around him.

Season Ahead

Now 18 years of age, Woodburn seeks to establish himself as a senior level starter.

However, he is under no pressure from Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

“It’s good for him to learn and whatever happens, he is our boy so there is no pressure for him,” Klopp told Liverpool’s club website after the announcement of Woodburn’s loan to Sheffield United.

“He can only enjoy himself in this situation, work hard, get new experiences and come back stronger. Then we will see.”

He should see minutes this season, as he presents a playing profile that is largely absent from Sheffield United’s squad.

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