Liam Millar made his Liverpool first-team debut earlier in 2020 and has his next steps already planned out as he bids to become a regular for the Reds.
It’s unusual for a youngster, but Millar has far more international caps than Reds appearances so far.
The 20-year-old is one of a whole host of talented Canadian internationals busy making the grade across Europe and, while he’s not on the same level as Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David at this stage, Millar has been gradually gaining experience and getting closer to top-flight action.
Two loan spells north of the border with Kilmarnock saw Millar play more than 30 times in the Scottish Premiership, while he also has eight senior caps for Canada and significant youth experience with the Reds, including U23s action and five goals in 10 UEFA Youth League games.
Best of all, he made his Liverpool senior bow in February, starting the 1-0 FA Cup win over Shrewsbury at Anfield.
Next up is another move up the ladder in terms of quality and pressure—and Millar has his eyes on the second tier of the English game.
“I’m aiming for the English Championship hopefully,” he said to Sportsnet.
“I think it’s probably the best second league in the world.
“It’s also one of the toughest leagues too because you have a game every three days. It’s back-to-back, back-to-back and I think it’s the perfect thing that can help me get to the Premier League and be ready for it.”
There shouldn’t be a shortage of takers for any of Liverpool’s talented youngsters right now, with several of them having proven capable of beating senior opponents.
Different players have earned game time against MK Dons, Arsenal, Everton, the aforementioned Shrewsbury—and one or two more might even get a look-in in the Premier League run-in, once the title is wrapped up.
Millar, who plays left wing or up front, has been on a long journey already to this point.
He reveals in the interview he was turned down at under 11 age group by Toronto FC, moving to England at 13 after earning trials at clubs and choosing to sign for Fulham.
Millar joined Liverpool after impressing at U16 level and has since then been working through the age groups to earn his chance—which finally came his way when Neil Critchley named him up front, with a capacity Anfield crowd cheering on our youngest-ever lineup.
“It was honestly unbelievable … the highlight of my career so far,” said Millar about that match. He was still on the pitch when the Reds took the lead, before being replaced for the closing minutes.
“[It was] one of those times where you just kind of have to sit back and just realise where you are and what you’ve accomplished.
“And even though for me it’s just the first step for what I want to do with my career, just to be the first Canadian to ever play for Liverpool was a big achievement for me.
“I was very proud and kind of overwhelmed after the game.”
Millar has a family history in English football: his dad—now an electrician in the TV industry who has worked on Game of Thrones—played for Charlton Athletic before having to retire due to injury, and thereafter coached youth football in Canada.
But Millar has the opportunity to play at a higher level, for a longer time, than his dad managed.
The young forward recounts how the entire family has made sacrifices to enable him to progress, highlighting why he’s determined to go as far as possible and take the right steps to achieve his dream.
For 2020/21, that appears to be another spell away in search of regular action, and if he can show the sort of form at Championship level which the likes of Harry Wilson and, briefly, Rhian Brewster have previously managed, he’ll be one step closer to achieving that aim of being a top-flight regular.