Jurgen Klopp excited by ‘Project Neco Williams’ as Liverpool plot long-lasting career

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Jurgen Klopp is excited at the prospect of continuing ‘Project Neco Williams‘ after the youngster committed his long-term future to Liverpool.

The 19-year-old put pen to paper on a five-year deal on Monday after an exponential rise into the first team which now sees him hold the title of being Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s deputy.

Williams rise out of obscurity is one which proves as the perfect inspiration for the club’s fellow academy members, with his development duly rewarded by Klopp and Co.

The Welshman only made his debut in the League Cup clash against Arsenal in October but has since gone on to make a total of 11 senior appearances – which included six in the Premier League to seal a winners’ medal.

A “breakout season” by his own admission is only the start for Williams who will add valuable depth at right-back, to afford Trent the chance to rotate, while continuing his development alongside the world’s best.

And for his manager, the 19-year-old’s “potential” poses as an exciting “project” as while he will see game time in 2020/21, setting him up for a career of success remains paramount.

“Great news. Great news for him, great news for us,” Klopp told the club’s official website after confirmation of his new deal. “I think Neco is – how young players are – they are kind of ‘projects’.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, June 24, 2020: Liverpool’s Neco Williams during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I don’t want to use that word, but with my English I don’t have a better one. There is a lot of work to do, but there is already a lot of skills and potential there and that makes it so exciting.

“Neco from the first day he trained with us, he trained like a machine. Every day he became better and better and better and I thought, ‘OK, what’s that?!’

“Unfortunately then, in the moment he started playing for us, I saw it, he got a little physical knock like it was always really intense all of the time. But then he had to play.

“The last game of the season against Newcastle is a really good example – first half, struggled slightly, [but] second half he was there.

“That’s exactly him in the moment and there is so much positivity about this kid that I am really happy we have him here. That’s very important for me because he is our boy and it is the perfect place for him in the moment because we don’t rush his career.

SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 26, 2020: Liverpool's Neco Williams celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott (L) after his cross forced a Shrewsbury Town own-goal to give his side a 2-0 lead during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Shrewsbury Town FC and Liverpool FC at the New Meadow. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We want to prepare him for his career, yes, and in his position in which he will probably play, there is a really, really good player in that position. But Trent cannot – and should not and never did – play 500 games a season, so we need to have options there. Neco is as close as possible for his age group.

“He has a lot of things that we really like, so I am really, really happy that he signed this contract.”

Williams joined both Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott in committing his future to the club, one which looks in safe and capable hands as they continue to soak up the wisdom passed down to them by the manager and their senior teammates.

And, for Williams, he will have unlikely received fewer greater compliments than the acknowledgement that his “attitude and application is elite” from captain Jordan Henderson.

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