By Harvey Byrne
Former Liverpool defender Dominic Matteo believes teenage duo Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold have both “developed really well and improved.”
Ejaria, 19, made his second appearance for Liverpool in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night against Tottenham, while Alexander-Arnold, 18, made his competitive debut.
The duo didn’t look out of place in a Reds team which consisted of several youth and fringe players as they helped their side onto a 2-1 victory.
Now Matteo, who played for Liverpool for eight years between 1992 and 2000 has hailed the young pair and believes they provide a “great boost” to the academy.
“Obviously I’ve seen quite a bit of them over the past ten months when I’ve been doing a bit for the football club’s TV station,” started Matteo when speaking to 5Times podcast.”I think they’ve both developed really well, they’ve improved.
“Trent Alexander-Arnold for me is probably the one that I’ve been most impressed with if I had to choose one out of the two, but they’ve both made great progress.
“I think Trent is one I think the club were hoping would com through- he’s kind of on the right track, he’s come right through the ranks from such a young boy. Of all the young lads I think he’s the one that the club were hoping to get through. You need to have a local player in your first-team squad or in and around the squad, I think the fans relate to him.
“Obviously Ejaria’s another one from the academy coming through, it’s also a great boost for the academy. Also I was saying last night as well it gives the young lads who haven’t had that taste of it yet, it just gives them that optimism that there is a chance if you keep going, working hard, maybe looking at these boys is a bit of inspiration to go and achieve a first-team game.”
Matteo came through the Reds academy himself, which is famous to producing a number of stars for the club.
Players such as Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler have all come through the club’s youth system and fans will be hoping Ejaria and Alexander-Arnold’s names can be placed alongside the club’s greats.
The Reds have been drawn against Championship side Leeds in the quarter-final stages of the EFL Cup, which is likely to see the young members get another run out in the team.