New Liverpool academy signing Kaide Gordon is a player of limitless potential, according to Derby’s academy director, who says he can be “whoever he wants to be.”
Gordon was confirmed to have made the switch from Derby to Liverpool earlier this month, with the Reds paying an up-front fee of £1 million in a deal that could rise to £3 million.
At 16, the versatile forward is not expected in the first-team frame any time soon, and instead he has begun training with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s under-18s, with a view to stepping up to the under-23s.
It is a wise move given the player’s age as, despite Gordon having already made his Championship debut, expectations must be managed following his move to the Premier League champions.
However, Derby academy director Darren Wassall has told The Athletic that “he is up there” with the best young players he has seen, admitting that “our loss is Liverpool’s gain.”
“His ability is very exciting, he’s got a lot of pace and talent,” he said.
“He’s got a fantastic left foot, first touch, an ability to run with the ball and dribble with it.
“He’s lethal with his delivery from set-pieces. He sees a pass, he can score goals. His potential is massive.”
Wassall added: “When you are talking about a 16-year-old, you don’t want to put too much pressure on him by saying all that – but he has got it.
“He’s got potential – and that’s all it is at the moment – to be whoever he wants to be.”
Encouragingly, given Wassall’s enthusiastic praise, he also describes Gordon as “very grounded,” saying he “was never a problem and always worked hard” and that “he just loves football.”
There is more than a measure of disappointment from Derby that they could not keep hold of their biggest young talent, with it hinted that those within the club’s hierarchy accepted Liverpool’s offer against their wishes.
“He’s always stood out as a special talent and Liverpool think that too,” he continued.
“To spend that kind of money on an under-16 who is still at school. It’s extraordinary.”
Gordon is not the first player the Reds have committed a sizeable sum for at 16, with the compensation fee paid to Fulham for Harvey Elliott expected to land in the high seven figures, but it is a marker of their belief in the teenager.
The hope will be that, in time, he is able to realise the potential that Wassall has mapped out, as if he does Liverpool will have signed an exceptional talent.