Former Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has heaped praise on Liverpool striker Divock Origi, but insists Jurgen Klopp‘s patient approach is sensible.
After an impressive maiden campaign on Merseyside last time out, Origi has endured a slow start to 2016/17, with just three starts for the Reds to date, all in the League Cup.
The 21-year-old has played just 104 minutes in the Premier League, over nine games, averaging just 11.6 minutes on the field in each appearance.
As a result, Origi has struggled to find the back of the net, with both of his goals this season coming in the cup, first against Burton Albion and most recently away to Derby County.
Origi finds himself behind both Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge in Klopp’s centre-forward pecking order, but Wilmots believes it is only a matter of time before his former charge makes his mark.
“For me, he’s one of the best young striker talents for the future,” he told L’Equipe.
“He has everything: speed, technique, acceleration, knows where the goal is, right foot, left foot.
“But, Klopp is working with him, and taking his time. You need to let time do its thing.”
Wilmots gave Origi his international debut back in 2014, with the striker going on to earn 23 senior Belgium caps so far.
Only one of these has come under Wilmots’ successor, Roberto Martinez, however, with Origi playing 67 minutes in September’s 2-0 friendly defeat at home to Spain.
He has been an unused substitute in each of Belgium’s next five games, including four World Cup qualifying clashes.
This saw Martinez opt against Origi’s introduction despite emphatic victories over Cyprus (3-0), Bosnia & Herzegovina (4-0), Gibraltar (6-0) and Estonia (8-1).
Both Martinez and Klopp are taking a cautious approach this season, but as he proved last season, scoring 10 goals in 34 games in all competitions, he has the potential to thrive.
He could be given the opportunity to do so under Klopp in 2017, with Sadio Mane set to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
Origi can play out wide as well as up front, increasing his chances of a starting role, but at 21, the former Lille star still has plenty of time to establish himself for both club and country.