Sunday 17 December 2017

Klopp the perfect mentor for Woodburn - Origi

Liverpool's Welsh striker Ben Woodburn. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Welsh striker Ben Woodburn. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Chria Bascombe

Liverpool's latest teenage prodigy, Ben Woodburn, has the perfect manager to ensure he fulfils his potential, according to team-mate Divock Origi

Belgian striker Origi knows all about making a major impact at such a tender age, and how it is inevitable the high of instant first-team success can then be followed by a prolonged period of waiting for the same adrenaline rush.

Jurgen Klopp moved swiftly to calm enthusiasm surrounding Woodburn after the 17-year-old became Liverpool's youngest-ever goalscorer on Tuesday evening.

Indeed, following the EFL Cup quarter-final win over Leeds, Klopp gave one of the least enthusiastic press conferences of his 14-month reign as he viewed the imminent hype around the teenager with foreboding as much as excitement.

Origi says there could be no better mentor for a developing talent and the German has introduced Woodburn at the right time.

"You can't imagine a better manager to develop young players so it is all good for him and the other youngsters," said Origi. "On the human side of managing he knows how to handle a group and he knows how to handle players. He has that side [to him] and that is a very big quality.

"He has already proved that he can make players big, so this is the perfect environment, and Liverpool is growing. Hopefully they can grow with Liverpool.

"He still has to learn but I think he is in the perfect environment because we all want to help each other. He looks like a very down-to-earth guy but you could see the emotion in his eyes. I'm very happy for him because scoring at this age at Anfield is a huge boost for him."

Origi can empathise with Woodburn. He was also 17 when he made his debut for Lille in France, scoring as a substitute against Troyes. He was called into the Belgian squad at 19 before his £10million move to Liverpool.

"You have the qualities and you try to learn, but you can't just coach yourself," said Origi. "For Ben it is most important that he enjoys the game, he tries to learn, to learn to make steps. This is an age you can make a lot of steps really quickly."

There is now expected to be a battle over Woodburn's international loyalties. Although he is from Tattenhall just outside Chester, he declared his allegiance to Wales at youth level and is their Under-17 captain. However, England have already made attempts to lure Woodburn back to his country of birth. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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