Brendan Rodgers has fairly recently commented on how Liverpool values talent from all around the globe but that it needs more local players, more Scousers who form the heartbeat of this club, citing Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard as current examples of what a local player can do for his club and stressing the importance of finding their natural successors.
In the past decade Liverpool are deemed to have lost out to Everton on unearthing and bringing through the best local talent but since Rafa Benitez overhauled the Academy, it seems like that trend is being bucked, with quite a few local lads progressing through youth ranks and making their way towards the first team squad.
One Scouser who has really stood out in terms of talent in recent years is Jack Dunn, 18-year old attacking midfielder plying his trade in Liverpool’s U18 team.
Diminutive in stature but a giant in terms of natural ability, blessed with very good balance and strength in duel, he quickly made an impression on his coaches and was given the captain’s armband first in U16’s and later in U18’s. What we’re talking about here is a player of magnificent technique, passing range, lethal shot from distance with both feet, especially his stronger, left one, and movement that is more reminiscent of modern Spanish playmakers like David Silva than of a young lad who is yet to make a professional debut.
You will often seem him taking up good positions left and right, finding pockets of space to move into and receive the ball. This aspect of his game has probably been augmented by his coaches trying him in a variety of positions: he has played as right winger, centre forward and even as a left back! It’s safe to say that he didn’t let anyone down even when he was playing in unfamiliar roles.
However, a series of recurring hamstring injuries halted his progress last year, restricting him to just a few appearances, most of which came towards the end of the year. He simply carried on from where he stopped, the highlight being a wonderful display away to Swindon in FA Youth Cup, where he scored a brace and played brilliantly throughout the whole match.
Thankfully, there will be plenty of chances for him to make up for the lost time. Watching him play, you can see how eager he is to do well, to thread a good pass to his teammate or to score a screamer like his role model, Steven Gerrard, player he has been likened to because of his eager, never-say-die character and ability to score a goal out of nowhere.
Not being able to curb his attacking instincts and sometimes trying too hard to do everything by himself when there is a better option available is probably the aspect of his game that he will have to work on the most in near future because his manager values team work and work ethic above everything.
However, he is a player with mentality that is required of someone who is supposed to represent Liverpool FC properly and I don’t doubt that he will do his best to fulfill his massive potential, as long as he overcomes fitness troubles that have slowed but not stopped his impressive progress.