In only his first season as a No. 9, Liverpool youngster Lewis Koumas has produced an excellent run of form, leading to praise from his coach.
With Oakley Cannonier, Max Woltman and Fidel O’Rourke stepping up to the under-21s to join Layton Stewart last summer, the Liverpool under-18s were short of a striker.
The likes of Jayden Danns and Keyrol Figueroa were close to breaking through, but Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and his staff began the campaign with a different option up front.
Koumas, son of former Premier League midfielder Jason Koumas, took up first-choice duties flanked by new signings Ben Doak and Trent Kone-Doherty.
The 17-year-old immediately hit the ground running, and has now scored 13 goals in 19 games, with Bridge-Wilkinson praising his development in a column for LiverpoolFC.com.
“It wasn’t just me who made the call to play him as an out and out No. 9,” he admitted.
“We spoke about it as staff and it was a discussion we had in pre-season about whether the position would suit him best.
“He is good at running, he is full of energy and enthusiasm and his running off the ball is really intelligent; he can also finish.
“We just thought let’s give him a go there and felt it was something he might enjoy, which he certainly is.
“He was scoring goals, getting chances and ultimately playing consistently well.”
Koumas has already made the step up to the U21s, including a start against League Two side Rochdale in the Papa John’s Trophy, while this month saw him debut for the Wales under-19s.
He looks to have recovered from an injury blow and could split his time between the U18s and U21s between now and the end of the season.
“He’s back now, he scored two good goals in our defeat at Sunderland,” Bridge-Wilkinson explained.
“And hopefully he can stay injury-free between now and the end of the season and continue his encouraging development.”
Koumas has followed in the footsteps of the likes of Cannonier and Stewart in showing prolific form at youth level, and he will be hoping to translate that to the first team in time.
The pathway is already laid out for him, though the travails of both Paul Glatzel and Bobby Duncan before him show that it is not always straightforward.