Liverpool’s young stars of the FA Cup will hope their efforts are rewarded with more senior action—but there is another benefit to their increased exposure.
There’s no question that several of the talents coming through the Academy will have good careers in the game, whether that’s at Liverpool or elsewhere in the end.
And an important step along their progression is to experience different types of football, different challenges and different styles of play.
Academy football, lower-league loan spells and senior action are all examples of these differences, but so too is international exposure—and several faces look set to be given call-ups after impressing for Neil Critchley.
The first and most prominent of those is right-back Neco Williams, who David Maddock reports for the Mirror is set to be handed a first-ever call-up to the senior Wales national team.
To date, Williams has featured only at U19 level for his nation, but the 18-year-old has impressed so much in his first-team outings this season that he stands a chance of being involved against Austria and USA in March.
He’ll have work to do to gatecrash the Euro 2020 squad, with 30-year-old Chris Gunter (Reading, 96 caps) and 24-year-old Connor Roberts (Swansea, 16 caps) ahead of him at right-back, with both players regulars in the Championship.
Neco isn’t the only one with a big step-up headed his way though, with reports from the Mail‘s Dominic King that Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott are also being looked at by the FA for an U21 call-up.
Jones, also 18, recently made Liverpool captain for the FA Cup win over Shrewsbury, has represented England from U16 through to U19 level so far, but has not had an U21 call-up.
Neither has Elliott – though at just 16 years of age it’s hardly surprising and it would be an enormous nod to his talent where he to be involved.
The right-winger has been most recently with England U17s, and it’s a measure of his progress with Fulham last year, and Liverpool this, that he is being considered for this promotion already.
In an ironic twist, it would appear that the FA are keen to benefit from the duo playing a key part in a win in the FA’s own competition—despite the fact they appeared to snub the Reds’ replay by keeping it off television.