Liverpool academy winger Ryan Kent has joined Barnsley, signing for the Championship side on a season-long loan deal.
The youngster featured in all four of the Reds’ first pre-season friendlies, against Tranmere Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Wigan Athletic and Huddersfield Town, but was left out of their US tour.
Remaining on Merseyside to play for Michael Beale’s under-23s, Kent has now completed a loan move to join Paul Heckingbottom’s Barnsley.
The 19-year-old will remain with the Tykes for the 2016/17 campaign, in the hope of gaining considerable first-team experience.
“I’m delighted to sign for Barnsley, I am really looking forward to what the season holds for me,” said Kent.
“I have spoken to Paul (Heckingbottom) quite a lot over the last few weeks about how I am going to fit into the team and how we are looking to play this season.
“I feel I can bring a lot of excitement to the team, I can play on either side of the wing or behind the striker, I’m really lucky to be gifted with both feet which helps my game out a lot.
“I have a lot of speed and flair so I am looking forward to playing with the other players, hopefully we can build a good chemistry and get some good wins.”
Kent spent the first half of last season on loan with Coventry City in League One, but was recalled to Klopp’s squad to cover an injury crisis at the beginning of 2016.
After making just one appearance for the German, against Exeter City in the FA Cup third round, Kent dropped back down to the club’s academy ranks.
Able to play all across the attacking midfield, Kent will flesh out Heckinbottom’s options significantly.
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) July 26, 2016
As Beale attested following the U23s’ 4-1 win over Rhyl FC on Sunday afternoon, Barnsley will be receiving a player who is in top physical condition.
“A loan for Ryan would be really important, you can see he’s got lots of talent, you’ve seen that in the four games for the first team,” he explained.
“He’s the fittest player we’ve got at the minute, because he’s played four games and everybody else has played two.”
Facing competition from Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Sheyi Ojo for a starting role on the right wing, Kent was unlikely to receive regular game time at Liverpool at any stage in 2016/17.
Therefore, joining Barnsley should be a hugely positive move for the Oldham-born talent.