Liverpool fans’ excitement about Ben Doak may have shot up even further based on his performance for Scotland under-21s on Monday night, and his manager’s post-match comments.
Although his side were narrowly beaten by European under-21 runners-up Spain, the 17-year-old bamboozled the Spanish defence with some breathtaking skill during the first half.
The Reds youngster was singled out for praise afterwards by his coach Scot Gemmill, who promised that we didn’t even see the forward at his optimum in last night’s clash.
As per Daily Record, the Scotland under-21 boss said: “It was an exceptional performance from Ben Doak. I would even add that’s there more to come from him. He’s not fully match fit at the moment because of his limited minutes as he is playing for such a good club.
“Imagine a fully-fit Ben Doak! I thought it was a really top performance and hopefully everyone saw that.”
Having shown a few promising cameos at Liverpool last term, the 17-year-old caught the eye in pre-season with some dazzling displays, putting himself firmly in the frame for plenty of first-team opportunities over the coming months.
He was given 13 minutes towards the end of the 1-1 draw at Chelsea a month ago, but as Gemmill says, he mightn’t even have been operating at his peak last night as he’s still only getting sporadic game-time at Anfield.
That didn’t stop Doak from causing the Spain defence some real headaches, though, and for the Scotland under-21 boss to proclaim that ‘there’s more to come’ from the Reds teenager will whip up a frenzy of excitement over the levels the youngster could yet reach.
He could be in line to feature throughout Liverpool’s Europa League group campaign, which begins next week away to LASK Linz, a competitive level of football which should tell us more about where he’s at with his development.
Once he gets more regular minutes under his belt and stays free from injury, we can expect this gifted youngster’s star to keep rising. How far it could ascend is anyone’s guess; it’s going to be a lot of fun finding out the answer.