It has been a remarkable 12 months for Tyler Morton, and the Liverpool midfielder took his next step as he made his England debut for the under-20s on Thursday.
The youngster from Wallasey made his debut for the U23s in November of last year, scoring five goals and laying on two assists in 14 appearances for Barry Lewtas‘ side to earn the recognition of Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team staff.
A breakthrough in pre-season has seen Morton trusted to debut for the senior side, including a first start against Preston in the League Cup, while he has been on the bench twice in the Premier League and once in the Champions League.
Such has been the surprise speed of his development that it is no surprise he had been overlooked by England’s youth coaches until this month.
But the 19-year-old was named in Andy Edwards’ England U20s squad to play Portugal in Leiria, with his inclusion revealed late due to an oversight in the FA’s announcement.
His place in the squad was confirmed prior to the friendly, and Morton joined Clarkson on the substitutes’ bench at the Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa Stadium.
Edwards deployed Lewis Bate, James McAtee and Daniel Neil in midfield, with Portugal taking a 2-0 lead with second-half goals from Bernardo Couto and Filipe Cruz.
Clarkson had taken McAtee’s place shortly before Cruz’s effort, while Morton came on for his England debut with 16 minutes left to play, replacing Neil.
Though the evening ended in defeat for the U20s, it was a special moment for Liverpool’s No. 80, who was joined by parents Scott and Allison after the game.
Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to have James Milner back from his hamstring injury after the international break, but with Curtis Jones and Naby Keita still sidelined, Morton could keep his place in the squad.
“I told him we pretty much have to send him directly to the gym now,” Klopp said after Morton’s full debut at Preston.
“Because if he gets a body, he’s a brilliant footballer. There’s obviously some things to come physique-wise, but the football brain is outstanding.”