Trent Alexander Arnold recently posted a video on Twitter pledging to help academy players that get left behind with regards to their future.
The heartfelt video reminds us of how difficult it must be to make it to the big stage.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the best Academy example
The 23-year-old has already played in two Champions League finals. Trent has obtained five major honours at Liverpool as well as many individual accolades.
Such awards being the Young Player of the Year for the Premier League season of 2019-20.
He has also been included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2020 as well as the UEFA Champions League Squad in 2018-19.
He has won many other individual awards. All this underlines the wider opinion that the lad is currently one the best right-backs in the world.
Even when a player graduates from the academy, promoting to the senior team means an even bigger challenge playing regularly.
Harry Wilson, Marko Grujic, Ryan Kent, Pedro Chirivella and Rhian Brewster may be familiar names that didn’t quite make the grade despite being highly rated.
Chirivella joined in 2014 at 17. His family were provided with jobs and accommodation to settle in the area. That’s how promising the young playmaker was. He made only a total of 11 senior games for Liverpool.
He went on loan to three clubs before FC Nantes bought him in 2020. Despite having very good passing ability he didn’t have enough variety to secure a regular first-team place.
Should Liverpool be proud of how their youth players have developed?
Curtis Jones and Trent himself are our only two current long-term academy players who have achieved regular football.
There is hope for one coming through who has captured the imagination of fans. That is Kaide Gordon, who plays on the right-wing.
When mentioning wingers, the arrival of Luis Diaz fills the void spectacularly when Mane and Salah need to rest.
Or whenever they fly off to play in the African Cup of Nations!
Our depths on the flank look more impressive now with Takumi Minamino stepping up when called upon.
The Japanese international has been putting some great performances in. Harvey Elliot is capable of playing out wide as well as in the centre. His performances have contributed to the fact that Liverpool will be remembered for their improvement on squad depth this season.
They also have Diogo Jota and Divock Origi though not their preferred positions can also play in the wider areas.
Can Kaide Gordon help increase Liverpool’s squad depth?
Gordon wasn’t actually trained by Liverpool’s academy. However, the scouting system is highly relied upon when your own players aren’t coming through. And what a scouting system we have!
He was transferred from Derby County after Wayne Rooney sang his appraisals. Not a bad reference from England’s top scorer! Whilst Gordon was at the club, Rooney said that because of his talent he had always anticipated interest from elsewhere.
He was named Derby’s best academy player for the 2019-20 campaign.
The 17-year-old has an impressive work rate, defensive ability and accurate shooting from tough angles and distances. These are easy to notice in his compilation videos. His best attributes are his first touch, decision-making, dribbling, and flair. He also has rapid speed.
Klopp praised his shooting after the game, saying: “his finishing is exceptional.”
In this year’s FA Cup Third Round tie against Shrewsbury, Gordon bagged his first senior goal for the Reds. It came from an assist by Connor Bradley, who sent in a low cross to an unmarked Gordon in the box.
The teenager was in acres of space. After a composed first touch he swivelled lightly on his feet. He then magically evaded the charging recovering player who rushed in behind his blind spot as Gordon successfully pulled off a feint shot.
The finish was sublime since he had Ebanks Landell blocking his sight of goal, he came rushing in to attempt to block the shot and ended up falling to the ground, losing his balance. The more you watch the goal the harder it looked to score. But he made it look so effortless.
A great goal on his FA Cup debut.
Gordon also featured in two League Cup matches and has even stepped up too in the Premier League, coming on as a late substitute in Liverpool’s 3-0 win against Brentford in January. Not many players do so before their 18th birthday.
Looking at how many players fail to make the grade at the top level of football and to consistently play well, we expect Gordon to have a very big challenge on his hands.
Since speed is such an important attribute in football, his pace should be of no worry to him.
His natural ability and flair are comparable to the typical Premier League winger already and will only get better as he develops. Liverpool’s development staff have reported that he is a very consistent performer.
His biggest obstacle would be his size, his physical strength is not at a decent enough level yet. His reading of the game, his positional play as well as his fitness and athleticism is also not quite at the standard.
The good news is though that he has plenty of time to develop this part of his game, and in a couple of years, he could be a well-rounded player.
Kaide Gordon is a serious contender to be the next young player to step up and make regular first-team action.
Keep an eye out for him!