After an injury-hit campaign with Liverpool, Kaide Gordon is stepping up his fitness training at Kirkby ahead of a big pre-season back with the first team.
Pre-season is an opportunity for youngsters and fringe players to earn their chances for the campaign ahead, and Gordon certainly did that this time last year.
“I went to the U23s training and I see one player, and he has fire in each moment he touched the ball and he always passes players like they’re not standing there.
“So I called Jurgen immediately and [said]: ‘Wow, we have a new player here!’.”
The teenager, signed from Derby in a £2 million deal months before, went on to make five appearances during pre-season, including a start against Osasuna at Anfield.
That led to four outings for the senior side during the campaign proper, while Gordon also turned out as a regular for the under-23s and under-19s at academy level.
But the second half of the season – which did, admittedly, include a record-breaking goal against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup – was plagued by injuries and a spell out with COVID-19.
Since then, the 17-year-old has barely been spotted in training, with the club clearly taking a cautious approach after a busy start to life at the top level.
He was part of the victory parade in Liverpool after the Champions League final, though, before departing on a post-season holiday along with team-mate James Balagizi and Man United youngster Shola Shoretire.
Now, Gordon is already back at the AXA Training Centre in Kirkby, working on his fitness ahead of an expected linkup with the senior squad for pre-season.
Pre-season training begins on July 4, with there a possibility Gordon joins the under-23s a week before that, allowing Lijnders and elite development coach Vitor Matos to run the rule over his progress.