22-year-old defensive midfielder Kevin Stewart has signed a new four-year deal with the club, keeping him at Anfield until at least 2020 (via Echo).
Stewart, who will be out of action with an ankle injury for the next 4-5 weeks, impressed both the manager and the fans with a series of strong performances in the FA Cup earlier this year. He played his first Premier League game for us when he came of the bench in our 6-0 drubbing of Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago.
When he signed for us on free transfer in the summer of 2014, many of us were left scratching our heads – he had never really impressed during his time with previous club Spurs, and after quiet loan spells at Cheltenham, Swindon, and Burton there were question marks over whether or not he would ever be able to cut it at the highest level.
Klopp recalled him from his loan at Swindon in January in the midst of our injury crisis, and the youngster has never looked back. There now seems to be a belief among the fans that he could be the answer to our long-standing defensive midfielder issue.
The player himself also appears to be a touch bewildered by his recent meteoric rise:
“It took me until the age of 22 to make my debut and all those years I was just wondering what it’d be like, how difficult it would be, and if I’d cope playing in front of so many fans against Premier League players,” he said (via Echo).
“[The contract] gives me more confidence, it shows the club believes in me and believe that I could go on to become a good player for them.
“It has just given me confidence in myself and the security (I have) time to prove myself and get better with good coaches and good players.
“It took me until the age of 22 to make my debut and all those years I was just wondering what it’d be like, how difficult it would be, and if I’d cope playing in front of so many fans against Premier League players.
“It’s maybe just relaxed my mind a little bit. Okay, I’ve not played too many (games) but just getting there and playing against (big) teams and in the Premier League has calmed my mind.
“I’ll still learn a lot more if I end up playing a few more games.
“I’ve not learnt fully what it’s about but I’ve got a little taste and I believe I can push on and maybe play more and deal with it well.”
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