Liverpool welcomed a new face to first-team training on Tuesday as Trent Kone-Doherty joined Jurgen Klopp‘s squad. So who is the young winger?
The Reds were back at the AXA Training Centre on Tuesday to begin preparations for the trip to Newcastle, with a host of youngsters involved.
Many of those have been retained from pre-season, including Bobby Clark, Jarell Quansah, Melkamu Frauendorf, James McConnell, Calum Scanlon, Lewis Koumas, Vitezslav Jaros, Marcelo Pitaluga and Fabian Mrozek.
A rarity in senior training, though, came in the form of Kone-Doherty, who was among the attackers put through their paces in the sunshine in Kirkby.
So who is Kone-Doherty and what could fans expect?
Who is Trent Kone-Doherty?
Kone-Doherty emerged on the radar for Liverpool’s recruitment staff in the early months of 2022, having joined the Derry City squad for pre-season at the age of 15.
Born in Derry, Kone-Doherty initially began playing for local side Foyle Harps as a six-year-old, before switching to Derry City in 2019.
Though he did not make his debut for the club, his swift progress caught the attention of a number of sides, including Celtic.
Derry City play their football in the Republic of Ireland’s top tier, but as they are based in Northern Ireland, Liverpool were able to circumvent post-Brexit restrictions to seal a deal.
By June, his transfer was confirmed, and Kone-Doherty immediately joined Liverpool’s under-18s, excelling in attack alongside Doak and Koumas.
This season has seen him play for both the U18s and U21s already, with high hopes for him in the years to come.
What is he like as a player?
A fleet-footed winger, blessed with pace and trickery, Kone-Doherty is a direct attacking outlet who has shown his eye for goal over the past 12 months.
In his first campaign he netted 11 times in 23 appearances for the club’s academy sides, typically operating on the left of attack.
This time around he has been deployed on the right-hand side, showcasing his versatility, which resulted in a stunning strike cutting onto his left foot in a 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest U18s.
Trent Kone-Doherty ? pic.twitter.com/93Hs3o31uk
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 12, 2023
He then scored in his follow-up outing for the U21s – his first league start at that level – making it two in two games for Barry Lewtas‘ side.
Kone-Doherty is still slight, which is understandable given his age, but he shows no signs of allowing that to hold him back – similar to Doak’s relentless wide play.
What has been said about him?
Speaking to the Derry Journal upon Kone-Doherty’s move to Liverpool, Derry City under-17s coach Gerald Boyle said:
“Trent has that X factor, he’s got something special.
“His one-on-one ability is excellent. He has got serious, serious pace but the biggest thing about him is that he has a brilliant attitude.
“He is so receptive to information, he wants to learn all the time and he’s a great team-mate as well.
“Those qualities, as well as his physical and technical abilities, will take him a long way because he’s a great kid to work with and, as I said, he wants to learn and get better.
“Hopefully that takes him a long, long way in the game.”
And in an interview with the Liverpool Echo in November, Liverpool U18s manager Marc Bridge-Wilkinson said:
“He can finish, he can go on the outside, and whether or not he’s up against people who are bigger or a lot stronger, he still has the ability and football brain to go past people.
“He plays the game in quite a mature fashion, he’s very good at certain things in his game and he’s very good at finding a way to show people how he does it.”
Should fans expect to see more of him this season?
Realistically, expectations should remain low for Kone-Doherty when it comes to a first-team breakthrough this season – not least due to competition for places.
But his involvement in senior training suggests that staff have earmarked him as one for the future, with call-ups typically organised by Klopp’s assistant Vitor Matos.
Kone-Doherty already appears set to step up to the U21s on a more regular basis this season, and there is every chance that he follows Doak into the manager’s thinking eventually.
For now, though, the 17-year-old from Derry can simply look to learn from his experiences training alongside the likes of Salah and Diaz.