Ki-Jana Hoever arrived at Anfield after the Reds beat a host of top clubs to ensure he made the move to Merseyside from Ajax in the summer of 2018.
The 17-year-old has already made his senior debut for Liverpool, coming on for the injured Dejan Lovren in the FA Cup tie against Wolves and impressing in his stead.
Having featured in the domestic pre-season games, Hoever has joined the rest of Jürgen Klopp’s first-team on the next stage out in the United States.
“It’s a special experience. I don’t think a lot of 17-year-old boys have got it. I’m really thankful for that and I’m really happy,” Hoever humbly told the club’s official club website.
“I’m looking forward to everything [on the tour]. It’s the first pre-season for me so I just hope to learn a lot of things and have a few minutes in the games. We play against good opponents.”
“Everyone is helping me out, everyone is giving me tips for things to do better and things I can learn, because I’m still young.”
“Of course, I can speak Dutch with Virg and Gini [Wijnaldum] so they help a little bit more; Millie also. Everyone is helping me a lot. They tell me when something needs to be different and I learn from it, so that’s very good.”
It’s perhaps taken for granted just how important it is to move to a new country at the age of seventeen and impress at one of the biggest club’s in the world.
To have the world’s best defender in Van Dijk as a role model and someone to look up to is clearly a huge benefit for the teenage Dutchman. Equally, going triple Dutch with Gini Wijnaldum also around to lend a hand can only be a good thing for Hoever as he continues his development.
The mention of James Milner too makes clear the importance of having senior leadership in Klopp’s side, while Hoever will also have teenage compatriot company in the form of Sepp van den Berg.
Pre-season is important not just for footballing reasons, but to allow members of the squad to ingratiate themselves with their teammates and to build personal relationships that can translate to effective performances on the pitch.