Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will include 18 year old Samed Yesil in his squad to face Young Boys in the Europa League this week, we take a closer look at the German dubbed ‘Gerd’.
German youth international Samed Yesil arrived at Anfield a day before the end of the transfer window and his signing was not really big news until Liverpool failed to secure a first team striker. Out of desperation, fans eyes turned to the 18 year old striker and were surprised by the quality of player Liverpool had brought in – and for just £1m.
Already a first team squad member for Leverkusen, Yesil has been prolific at every level of the game and scored nineteen times in twenty three appearances last season for the German sides U19 team. The curiosity of Liverpool fans was aroused and they weren’t made to wait long to see what he could offer as Yesil starred for Germany U19s, almost singlehandedly dismantling England in a 3-1 win, the youngster – nicknamed ‘Gerd’ after the legendary German forward Gerd Muller – scored twice and created the third. He was also a star performer as Germany overcame Wales.
A week later and Samed Yesil, who can’t yet speak any English (strange for a German), debuted for Liverpool’s U21s in an away game with Chelsea at Brentford’s Griffin Park. Shown live on LFCTV, Yesil put in a performance that left fans drooling at his potential; showing ability to play off the shoulder, drop deep, link play and run at defenders it seems he is a complete striker. He thrived as a lone frontman, something Adam Morgan has struggled with at U21 level, and was always looking for a way to score. Indeed he could, and should, have scored two or three times, his two most obvious chances where when a mistake by Jamal Blackman left Yesil with an clear sight of goal but he fired over and some excellent work by Dani Pacheco on the left wing laid Yesil on for what should have been an easy tap in but the German sliced the shot and it was cleared off the goal line.
Rodgers: “Yesil will certainly be fast-tracked. He will be involved in the Europa League game.”
What most impressed about Yesil’s performance though was not his determination to score – which was admirable – but rather his superb link up play which brought the likes of Adorjan, Morgan and in particular Pacheco to the more dangerous final third of the pitch. Early this season the U21s have sometimes struggled to retain possession at the top end of the pitch, a problem mirrored in the first team, and this is particularly a problem when Morgan leads the line. Yesil’s performance showed he is more than capable of holding the ball up in a way the young Scouser is simply not capable and it’s no surprise to see Yesil has been propelled into the first team set up after just 58 minutes of U21 football because of this fact.
In many ways Yesil appears to be a more developed version of Morgan. While for years we have talked about how Morgan is a great finisher but lacks any real depth to his game it seems Yesil has that depth and technical strength to the rest of his game. If Morgan wants to make it here he could do a lot worse than observe the movement and interplay of Yesil.
However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. His German compatriots may dub him ‘Gerd’ but so far he has proven nothing and it is worth remembering that he does not have a first team start or German national call up to his name while similarly aged players like Gotze and Reus are regulars for the German champions Borussia Dortmund. Not to say Yesil won’t be in their class in time, but he isn’t there yet and has a long, hard journey to go on. Most importantly for him will be learning some English – the sooner he can communicate with his teammates the sooner he can settle in England and really show his potential.
For now though it will be interesting to see him on Thursday and observe his development in cameos and U21 appearances. Yesil is an immensely talented player but he is a young lad and it will take time.