BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Monday, March 13, 2017: Liverpool's captain Harry Wilson in action against Chelsea during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool winger Harry Wilson returning to fitness ahead of defining campaign

Liverpool U23s captain Harry Wilson is nearing a return to fitness after a pre-season dogged by a troubling Achilles injury, his manager has revealed.

Wilson enjoyed a phenomenal campaign with the U23s last season, scoring and assisting at will as he took up the mantle as skipper at Kirkby.

The Wales international also made the step up to regular first-team training at Melwood, too, and debuted in January’s 1-0 win away to Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup third round.

With Liverpool rejecting Celtic’s approach for the 20-year-old in May, Wilson looked set to take up a regular role under Jurgen Klopp in 2017/18.

But the youngster didn’t feature for either the first team or the U23s throughout pre-season, with Neil Critchley explaining how Wilson had been recovering from injury.

“Harry has had a bit of a disruptive pre-season unfortunately as he has got a bit of an issue with his Achilles which has ruled him out for a few weeks,” the U23s manager told LiverpoolFC.com.

“Hopefully there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel for him and he will be back in the next couple of weeks.

“I thought he was tremendous last season and made big strides in the U23s.

“He then progressed to Melwood and made a good impression, but injuries are part and parcel of football.

“He is a strong character and I’m sure when he comes back he will go on to have a really good season.”

PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 18, 2017: Liverpool's Harry Wilson in action against Plymouth Argyle during the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay match at Home Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wilson is set to miss the start of the season, with the U23s kicking off away to Swansea City on Friday and the first team travelling to Watford for their Premier League opener on Saturday.

It remains to be seen which squad he rejoins when he makes his recovery.

But at 20, and having made “big strides” with the U23s last season, the natural progression would be joining Klopp’s squad.

The German currently has Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane as his first-choice wingers, with Ryan Kent likely to stay on Merseyside as cover on both flanks.

Sheyi Ojo is said to be in line for a season-long loan move to join Middlesbrough, and it could be that Wilson is earmarked as another alternative to Klopp’s senior wide options.

However, there is a lingering feeling that this will be a pivotal campaign for Wilson either way.

Turning 21 in March, that Wilson has made just one 25-minute cup appearance is a surprise given his quality, and it is unclear as to why he has been so unfavoured.

The challenge will be to establish himself under Klopp this season, as he can clearly be a strong option for the Reds.

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