Jurgen Klopp urges Liverpool academy players to take inspiration from Ovie Ejaria

23 March 2017

Jurgen Klopp has spoken of the advice he has given to Liverpool’s academy players out in Tenerife, with Ovie Ejaria used as a role model for them.


While the Reds’ international players are off representing their countries this week, Klopp has taken a small group to Tenerife for a training camp between Monday and Friday.

Captain Jordan Henderson is present, as he continues to recover from a foot injury, with James Milner, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren also among those involved.

Klopp has also ensured promising Academy players Yan Dhanda, Nathan Phillips, Matty Virtue, Paulo Alves, Adam Lewis and Toni Gomes have made the trip, seeing it as a good chance to improve their development.

The Liverpool manager says the youngsters should use Ejaria as inspiration, with the 19-year-old catching Klopp’s eye a year ago and going on to make eight first-team appearances this season.

“I told the boys before the session [on Tuesday] that last year, Ovie Ejaria came onto my plate, if you want,” Klopp explained.

“I saw him here first. I knew him, I saw him playing a few times, but here having him around for four days and seeing him in small spaces in the sessions against the ‘adults’ if you want was very important for him and for me.

DERBY, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 20, 2016: Liverpool's Oviemuno Ejaria in action against Derby County during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match at Pride Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s an opportunity. You can see in their eyes they know it; they are really ambitious when they think about the sessions and we will try to do everything we can to give them the opportunity to impress.

“There’s no doubt about the attitude, there’s no doubt about quality – it’s only a question of are they already ready or not? If not, then they still have time. If yes, then let’s make the next step.”

Klopp is known for being an advocate of youth, so Liverpool’s youth products should see this as a wonderful opportunity to impress one of Europe’s most respected managers.

The Reds’ boss has handed debuts to Ejaria, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn and Harry Wilson this season, with the quartet all entrusted at key times.

It is unlikely that the Academy prospects will be given a first-team opportunity between now and May, due to there only being Premier League football to focus on, but pre-season should be a good chance for them to shine.

With European football almost certain next season, and Liverpool battling on four fronts, more opportunities may come the youngsters’ way.

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