Liverpool vs Wolves, January 28th, 2017
This article is designed to outline the performance of one player who stood out over the course of a match. This player may not necessarily be the man of the match. Many times, it may just be someone who puts a decent shift in. The goal is to shine a light on someone who had a good day at the park. Against Wolves on Saturday, Ben Woodburn.
The seventeen-year-old made his third start on Saturday. I have a feeling most fans were excited to see the likes of Ejaria and Woodburn on the pitch. Though the result was less than desired, it’s safe to say Woodburn showed the manager and fans he has the potential to be a first-team player. The emphasis here is on potential. There were times that he drifted in and out of the game. He was a bit isolated on the wing for the better part of the first half. Then suddenly the youngster realised he needed to make himself more available. Once he started finding pockets of space, he couldn’t stop finding them. Ben then started to pick the ball up in midfield and carry it ten to fifteen yards without issue. This could be an insight to what we can expert from him throughout his growth and development.
We often see young players start out a bit timid. They typically play easy passes and don’t try anything too creative or risky. Klopp’s teams are built on technical ability on the ball and the ability to find space off the ball. Woodburn’s vision is something that really stands out to me. He has that instinctive capability to see many different options. This is something that is difficult to teach any player, at any age. This looks to be one of his best attributes and it provides an excellent foundation for him moving forward. What Woodburn is willing to do on the ball shows he’s capable of being a first team player. There were many times he didn’t play the first or second easiest ball instead he tried to thread one through or clip one across.
In the 18th minute he played an inch-perfect 25-yard diagonal ball to Firmino which creates a half-chance that results in a corner. He played it with such confidence and ease, it’s clear he backs himself to do these types of things day in and day out. It’s something that doesn’t show up on many stat sheets but it certainly is a bit quality that needs to be recognized. In the second half, he plays the ball to a near post Firmino off a set piece that also creates a half-chance. (get out the way Ragnar) This is another bit that wasn’t brilliant but is a very positive sign in a seventeen-year-old. Lastly, in the 72nd minute he goes down in the box and gives a decent penalty shout. Watching it back multiple times, it’s not a penalty but it is a decent move by Ben.
I hope we see much more of Ben Woodburn in the next year. So, let’s not compare him to past and present greats and just let the lad enjoy his football. With the likes of Woodburn, Ejaria, Gomez and Ojo all getting added to the mix of young talent, the future is very bright. Let’s let Klopp work a little confidence into these young boys and see where they can all go. Skies the limit.
One to watch, Ben Woodburn.
Written by Patrick Guye (@that_guye)