Adam Lewis has long been seen as a potential breakthrough youngster, but after a year of highs and lows the left-back is looking to gain senior experience.
When Alberto Moreno moved on from Anfield, Lewis was thought by many to be one of the potential names ready to step up and replace him as Andy Robertson‘s understudy.
It hasn’t quite happened that way yet; the Scot’s almost constant availability, plus James Milner‘s versatility, means the Reds haven’t quite needed a regular senior option to fill in.
But the cup runs this season have given younger players a chance to shine—and just when Lewis might have played a part, after stepping up for the seniors in pre-season, a knee injury ruined much of his 2019/20 season.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, he said that faced a tough battle to get back out on the pitch, but it’s now all about looking forwards.
The next step in that regard will be a loan move, with Lewis hoping to prove his worth at the professional level on a more regular basis.
“I haven’t played much during the past 12 months so the main thing is to stay fit, stay healthy, stay safe and keep everyone else safe,” he said.
“I would like to get out on loan, which is my aim for next season to get that experience. Sometimes people will ask me why aren’t I at Melwood or training with the first team, but you’ve got to realise you are playing for the best team in the world.
“This is probably one of the hardest teams to get into right now, so getting out on loan and being around a senior environment will help me as a player because I’ll be training with men.”
Lewis did, of course, make his debut for the Reds this season—he played against Shrewsbury at Anfield in the FA Cup.
With Yasser Larouci injured, Lewis got his chance and played the full 90 minutes of a memorable encounter, part of Liverpool’s youngest-ever starting lineup.
As we all might be inclined to do, Lewis revealed he has the shirt he wore for the match framed at home, a visual reminder of what he says was “the best moment of my life so far”—but there has to be more to come, is the constant message from the Academy.
One game doesn’t mean a youngster has made it, and Lewis knows he has much more to do.
The Anfield celebrations were memorable indeed, though, and he rightly holds up the experience as something to have enjoyed to the maximum.
Luckily for Lewis and his U23 team-mates, this is a club which will continue giving youth the chance when it’s good enough—as Neco Williams is proving on the opposite side of defence, a clear influence on what Lewis must try to replicate in terms of progression and performance level.
“I’m a young lad from Liverpool who has just played in front of the best fans in the world. Any lad my age would die for that moment. I’m blessed to say that I have done that.
“We have a manager who gives kids a chance. Neco has always been an athletic player and has played against Everton, Chelsea, Shrewsbury. He started off as a winger, I started off as a winger as well.
“Things happen like that. I think our manager and his staff notice where is best for you and Neco has a big opportunity now with just Trent in his way. It’s going to be tough because Trent is young but being a second-choice right-back at Liverpool, I’d take that any day.”
The next step for Lewis, on his road to perhaps becoming second-choice left-back, is to get some game time at a lower level.
If he can shine in League One or the Championship next term, he may be well-placed to return as a 21-year-old in 2021 to challenge for a place in the side and build on his solitary appearance so far.