Former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor has waxed lyrical about Ovie Ejaria and the improvement our teenager has made in the past few months.
The youngster scored twice for England U20s in the recent international break and was fantastic when given an opportunity for Liverpool’s first-team under Jurgen Klopp during the summer’s pre-season friendlies.
According to Mellor, Ejaria was not one of Liverpool’s Academy starlets showing the most promise a year back, but is now on the cusp of making his senior breakthrough.
“I watch a lot of the Liverpool under-age sides and his development in the last 12 months has been amazing,” Mellor wrote in the official Liverpool FC magazine, as quoted by the club’s website.
“A year ago he would probably admit that he wasn’t finding it easy in the U18s. Now he’s training with the first team after a fantastic pre-season where he stood out in games. He was imposing himself and doing very well.
“Technically gifted, he’s comfortable on the ball and has a good engine. Obviously he still has a long way to go, but it’s great to see him on the right track and that the hard work of the Academy staff is paying off.
“For a young boy to move from London to Liverpool and adjust to a new way of life can’t have been easy.
“It’s the type of challenge players typically have to go through. At those times the question is: how badly do you want to be a professional?
“Ovie has shown how much by leaving an environment where he was comfortable and coming to the north west to try to fulfil his potential.
“He didn’t sulk or spit his dummy out when Arsenal let him go. Instead he got on with it and now he’s reaping the rewards.
“If he continues to show the same approach, work hard and avoid the inevitable distractions that come along, he can go far.”
It’s testament to Liverpool’s scouts that we saw something in Ejaria after Arsenal decided to release him. Now, alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold and the potentially brilliant Ben Woodburn, Ejaria is our biggest count – not counting Sheyi Ojo who in many ways has already broken through.
We wish him luck for the rest of the campaign and hope to see more of him, perhaps in the EFL Cup fixture towards the end of this month, for example.