Academy Profile: Harry Wilson – 16 year-old Liverpool youngster in Wales senior squad

Liverpool fans exploded with interest at the shock news that Liverpool U18s winger Harry Wilson had been called up to the Welsh first team on Wednesday afternoon. So, who is Harry Wilson?

COLWYN BAY, WALES - Tuesday, August 28, 2012: Wales' Harry Wilson in action against Poland during the International Friendly Under-16's match at Eirias Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Image: Wilson in action for Wales U16’s last year.

Wilson joined the Liverpool Academy as an 8 year old from his hometown club Wrexham in 2005. He raced through the youth ranks and made his U18s debut as a 15 year old when he replaced Kristoffer Peterson in a 4-1 thumping of Sunderland in February. He went on to make a further six appearances and grab two goals.

The fleet footed winger first came to fans attention when he starred for Liverpool U15s in their Milk Cup campaign of 2012. Observers remarked how Wilson had stood out even against the much more hyped talent of Seyi Ojo, signed for £1m from MK Dons.

The sixteen year old begun this campaign as a regular at U18 level and even managed to make a substitute appearance for the U21s against Southampton in the 4-3 defeat on the opening day of the season.

Wilson plays mainly from the right wing although he easily interchanges between left and right, forming a nice relationship with the equally impressive Ryan Kent. He is extremely quick, has fantastic technique and an eye for goal. Liverpool fans may recall him beating Seyi Ojo and Ryan Kent to the title of ‘King of the Academy’ over a series of drills filmed for Soccer AM in August.

For Academy observers Wilson has been one of the stand-out prospects coming from last season’s U16s squad. He has already developed a reputation for scoring impressive long range strikes, including a fabulous goal against Stoke City, and despite his relatively small stature he makes up for it through pure fight and clever use of his body.

No doubt there will be many asking for a comparison of him as a player but as anyone who knows me will tell you I dislike this method of rating or judging youth players. Suffice to say he is a winger, or probably more accurately an inside forward, who enjoys scoring goals and exploiting the space between a full back and centre back.

The Welsh call up is at once a fantastic reward for his hard work and a slight concern. He hasn’t yet played a full game at U21 level and is only truly settling into U18s football now. The step to first team international football will probably be quite a lot to take on and heaps pressure on him over the next couple of years to continue his astonishing rate of development.

However focusing on the positive, Wilson deserves recognition for his meteoric rise. Where it not for all the other fantastic talents at the Academy he would probably be better known among supporters and have enjoyed the accompanying praise/criticism of his every action that the likes of Sterling, Wisdom and Ibe now experience.

In Wilson Liverpool have a fantastic prospect but it is essential to hammer home the point that he is a prospect and nothing more and has to be given the time and patience required to fulfil his potential.

Over the next couple of years he will make mistakes, have poor games and be required to work harder than at any point in his career to date. In order to do this successfully, fans will need to take this Wales call up as the flattering act it is and apply no level of unrealistic on such young shoulders.

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Liverpool fanatic, history student at the University of Leicester. Follow and write about Liverpool at all levels. Follow me on Twitter:

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  • Zach Machuca

    Love to see the academy players doing so well! Thats one for the future! YWNA

  • m.q.rehman

    No different to Sinclair getting a run out for us last year…gives the boy a taste of where he wants to be.
    After all the gloom and doom over the last few years its nice to see one more positive amongst a whole pile of recent at LFC!

  • axis

    BR always said if ur good enough, ur old enough to play. Although he’s only sixteen, I bet in a couple of years time, if he maintain his injuries to minimal (& we develop the kid properly) he could be the next Sterling and be in the senior squad. Hopefully by then we’ll be regularly in the champions league.

    I’m excited about our future. This is the year we should be judging BR & I for one is proud & happyof what he’s doing so far. Nowadays I’m proud to display LFC flag & flaunt my pride at Liverpool’s current forms. When LFC is winning then life is great, food taste better, music sounds amazing, work have less dramas, and everyone seems nicer.
    Come on Liverpool fans around the world, come out of ur hiding place & proudly wear the colour u support, wear ur reds of LFC and be proud. GO THE MIGHTY RED YNWA

  • Prince

    Sad sterling holding us ransom over a couple of good perfomances is why BR is now reluctant to give the kids (Ibe) a shot

  • allaboutanfield

    The future looks bright for Liverpool. With so many young kids coming through the academy Liverpool is really spoilt with choice. Just hope the young lads will be given a chance at the senior team.

  • Rederik

    I don,t think B.R will be overjoyed with this news, 16 is to young for international football, yes it,s great for Harry and i am sure he is very proud and honored to be called up by his country, but I hope the Welsh F.A don,t over push the lad to hard.

  • Prince

    From the bench no need for Moses to play all the games he is not out player we are not a developmental team for anyone

    • Rak S

      I agree that his signing, without an option to buy, was not ideal. However,we also need to balance out our immediate needs/challenges with developing young players. They need to be eased in, without affecting our results (ideally.)