After welcoming Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward to Huddersfield Town for a season-long loan, David Wagner heaped praise on the Welshman.
Ward signed a new five-year contract on Monday, before joining the Terriers for the 2016/17 campaign.
Linking up with Jurgen Klopp‘s close friend and former Borussia Dortmund colleague Wagner, who was appointed Huddersfield manager towards the end of 2015, Ward is poised for a key role.
Speaking on Ward’s arrival at the John Smith’s Stadium, Wagner pledged that the 23-year-old “will return to Liverpool a better goalkeeper.”
“I would like to thank Liverpool for the help the staff at the club have given us in allowing Danny to join us,” Wagner said.
“Danny is a goalkeeper that Liverpool rates very highly, which is why he has signed a new long-term contract at the club.
“He did very well out on loan last season and I believe we can help him take the next step in his career this season, so he will return to Liverpool a better goalkeeper.
“He is good with the ball at his feet, which is important in our style, but most importantly he is excellent at keeping the ball out of his net!”
Wagner’s assertion that Ward will slot into Huddersfield’s front-footed defensive system with ease is crucial.
The former Wrexham youth can spend 2016/17 adjusting to a style of play similar to that expected by Klopp at Liverpool, before returning to likely challenge Loris Karius for a starting role.
Karius signed for £4.7 million this summer, and took up the No. 1 shirt, and with Ward and fellow youngster Ryan Fulton heading out on loan, the German will vie with Simon Mignolet for the status of first choice.
It is the former Mainz 05 talent who is likely to assume that role, and with Klopp considering whether to offer 39-year-old free agent Alex Manninger a one-year contract this summer, his long-term goalkeeping plans are seemingly taking shape.
Ward’s time at Huddersfield will be hugely important in terms of development, with Manninger able to take up duties as Klopp’s third choice for 2016/17.
On Ward’s return, his added experience will aid him in challenging Karius, and possibly Mignolet, for a starting role.
Liverpool supporters are unlikely to see Ward in action in the Reds’ pre-season friendly against the Terriers on July 20, as he is set to remain on holiday until the end of the month.