Liverpool legend and current under-19s manager Steven Gerrard has singled out teenager Bobby Adekanye as the youngster who stands out the most at the club.
Adekanye, who joined Liverpool from Barcelona in 2015, has featured in all three of the club’s UEFA Youth League matches so far this season, starting in their win over Maribor.
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The Nigeria-born Dutch international scored twice and assisted once in a 4-1 win on Tuesday, and former Liverpool captain Gerrard has challenged the winger to become the “complete footballer”.
“He’s let his football do the talking,” Gerrard told the Echo.
“We said to Bobby and Rafa Camacho and the two young centre-backs (Anthony Driscoll-Glennon and Rhys Williams),who played either side of George (Johnston), ‘Look there are players missing, it is an opportunity for you. You either sink or swim.’ That’s what football is about.
“It is about when your opportunity comes along to move up. You come in and do yourself justice.
“I thought Bobby was excellent as was Rafa and the two young lads at centre-half so moving forward picking a team at under-19 level I’ve got big problems, but good problems.
“The thing with Bobby is consistency.
“I think he understands now what it is to play for a club like Liverpool at the highest level. Where you have to not just be talented on the ball and look good on the eye, you have to do the dirty side of the game as well.
“You have to compete, run back and tackle and carry out a job within a system, otherwise managers don’t trust you.
“When I came in I saw Bobby doing only one side of the game, coming alive when he got the ball.
“Working with Mick Garrity, Critch (Neil Critchley) and Alex (Inglethorpe), who are working tirelessly with him, I can see the other side of the game coming in.
“I was more pleased with Bobby’s performance out of possession without the ball because I thought he put in a shift in for the team.
“I know what he can do on the ball but can he become more of a complete footballer?”
Adekanye was signed from Barcelona during the 2015 summer transfer window, when the Spanish giants were under a transfer embargo.
During the same period, Liverpool also signed Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne, and sold Mario Balotelli.
After having problems with injuries, Adekanye made 15 appearances for Liverpool in the U18 Premier League, scoring once and assisting five times from the right wing.
This season, the 18-year-old has stepped up to the U-23 age group but has played just 17 minutes in the domestic league.