International boss calls for patience amid growing excitement over ‘confident’ Liverpool gem

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke has pleaded patience regarding the burgeoning talent that is Liverpool youngster Ben Doak.

The 17-year-old earned glowing praise for his performances in pre-season and has featured once in the Premier League already this term, with his inclusion in the Reds’ Europa League squad set to offer him further opportunities to impress.

He’s been backed by Nat Phillips to ‘become a great player’ and further showcased his star quality with an eye-catching display for his country’s under-21 side against their Spanish counterparts earlier this week.

Clarke was complimentary of Doak’s performance in that game but batted away questions of potentially fast-tracking the teenager into the senior Scotland squad for their October fixtures.

As per Edinburgh Evening News, the 60-year-old said: “Let’s just see how things pan out. He is a young man, he is a very exciting talent, but sometimes you have to let them grow a bit.  

“Anybody who watched the under-21 game on Monday night, and I did watch it, could see he is really good. In the first half I thought he was really good, in the second half he didn’t get in the game quite so much.

“He is a young man learning the game. I think going away and playing against Spain Under-21s away and being one of the highlights of the game is good for him.”

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You can understand why Clarke is trying to downplay the growing excitement around Doak, perhaps cautious that other players of a similar age in the past have been greatly hyped up but unable to fulfil that initial expectation.

As fantastic as the 17-year-old has been for Liverpool and Scotland at various levels, he’s still played a mere eight times in senior competitive football, with those appearances amounting to just under 100 minutes (Transfermarkt).

However, it’s difficult not to get excited about the Scottish teenager when watching him play, with the forward showing a maturity beyond his years during his fleeting game-time at first-team level thus far.

Phillips – who’s trained and played alongside Doak on Merseyside – described him as a ‘fearless’ and ‘very confident’ prospect who hasn’t shown any inhibitions when stepping up to the senior ranks.

The October international break might come too soon for the Liverpool starlet to get a call-up to Clarke’s Scotland squad.

However, if he makes the most of any opportunities handed to him by Jurgen Klopp this season, the calls for a first senior cap will surely grow louder and his case may become harder to ignore.

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