Liverpool striker Divock Origi believes the only way young star Ben Woodburn can cope with the growing expectation on his shoulders is through hard work.
Academy graduate Woodburn became the club’s youngest scorer at the age of 17 years and 45 days, beating Michael Owen’s record by 98 days, with a goal in the EFL Cup quarter-final win over Leeds.
Origi, still only 21, knows what it is like to be under the glare of the spotlight as he arrived at Anfield after a £10 million move from Lille, while he also led the line for Belgium as a 19-year-old in the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup.
While it may not quite be on the scale Woodburn is likely to face after writing his name into the record books, Origi offered some words of advice on how to cope with the expectation.
“Honestly you have to just [put] passion in it,” he said.
“When you show that, you have the qualities and you try to learn because you can’t just coach yourself everything.
“You have to cope with it by working, working, working. That makes you calm and confident.
“This is a big club and you have expectations on you so of course there is pressure, but when you know that you have worked hard and given it your all there is nothing more that you can do.
“When you relax a little then you have regrets. From the moment I came here I’ve never had regrets and that is one thing that makes me calm.
“For him it is most important that he enjoys the game, he tries to learn, to learn to make steps.
“This is an age you can make a lot of steps really quickly. I think it is all on him but he has the quality. I hope that we can see more of him in the future.”
Origi, a level-headed youngster himself, scored his second goal in two games to make the important breakthrough against Leeds and stake his claim for a starting place at Bournemouth on Sunday with playmaker Philippe Coutinho out for at least five weeks and Daniel Sturridge struggling with a calf problem.
He believes Woodburn has all the character traits to be a success at Anfield and has a manager in Jurgen Klopp who will ensure his potential is fulfilled.
“To be honest, he looks like a very down-to-earth guy but you could see the emotion in his eyes,” he said about the teenager’s reaction in the dressing room after the match.
“I’m very happy for him because scoring at this age at Anfield I think is a huge boost for him.
“He still has to learn but I think he is in the perfect environment because we all want to help each other.
“You can’t imagine a better manager to develop young players so it is all good for him and the other youngsters.
“I think on the human side of managing [Klopp] knows how to handle a group and he knows how to handle players.
“He has a very good understanding of football and these are all things that are very important.
“He has already proved that he can make players big so this is the perfect environment and Liverpool is growing so hopefully [younger players] can grow with Liverpool here with the project.”