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NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Ben Doak celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Youth League Group A Matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at Giuseppe Piccolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool coach “really impressed” with 16-year-old after match-winning debut

Ben Doak scored one and assisted the other on his winning debut for Liverpool under-19s, with coach Barry Lewtas “really impressed” with his first outing.

As the Reds kicked off their UEFA Youth League campaign with a trip to Napoli on Wednesday, Lewtas called upon a very youthful side.

Among those to start for the first time was Doak, who lined up on the opposite flank to fellow 16-year-old Trent Kone-Doherty, in support of striker Oakley Cannonier.

The pair, who have only recently arrived from Celtic and Derry City respectively, caught the eye in Naples as Liverpool earned a 2-1 win.

It was Doak who netted the opener, before teeing up Cannonier for the winner in the second half, making the impact Lewtas will have hoped for in his first time working with the youngster.

“Sometimes you can watch a player in the flesh a number of times, but it’s very much different when you are working with them as well,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“You get to learn their personality, to see what they offer the team, and I was really impressed. Ben linked the game up well.

“Ben is a real direct runner with the ball. You wouldn’t want to defend against him.

“You can see he has been around senior players, he’s tough and robust in certain moments, he can take contact.

“He’s had more experience but there’s still a lot he can improve.”

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Ben Doak during the UEFA Youth League Group A Matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at Giuseppe Piccolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool agreed a deal worth £600,000 for Doak in March, with the teenager then confirming his move to Anfield the following month during a campaign that saw him make his senior debut for Celtic.

The winger came off the bench twice in five days as Celtic sealed victories over Dundee United and Rangers, with his involvement in the Old Firm a signal of the Scottish club’s faith.

It is perhaps no surprise, then, that Doak is already excelling at youth level for Liverpool, with his goal and assist for the U19s adding to three goals and an assist in three games for the under-18s.

Thursday saw Doak called up to the Scotland under-21s squad for the first time, and it should only be a matter of time before he is given a first taste of action at U21s level for his club.

Lewtas is seemingly convinced, and though Liverpool will remain cautious with his development, hopes are clearly high for Doak on Merseyside.

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