Liverpool coach names club's 'unbelievable' academy star destined for the top

By Harvey Byrne

Former Liverpool full-back Rob Jones has identified Ben Woodburn as the club’s next rising star.

The Wales Under-17 international has won rave reviews for his performances as a centre-forward for the club’s age-group teams.

Liverpool’s youth staff have high hopes for the 16-year-old, who has been compared to countryman Aaron Ramsey for his lethal touch in front of goal.

He has caught the eye of  44-year-old former defender Jones, who is now on the club’s academy staff and took to his personal Twitter account on Thursday to express how he has been impressed by the teenager.

The eight-times capped England international has been part of the Liverpool academy’s coaching staff since 2013 and has overseen the development of the likes of Jordan Ibe and Sergi Canos, who have both left the club this week in multi-million pound deals.

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Jordan Ibe is putting the finishing touches to a £15million move to Bournemouth, while Norwich announced the signing of Canos on Wednesday for a reported £2.5million.

Jones is convinced that Woodburn has the ability to follow in the footsteps of that duo.

He rose to prominence in January with a wonder goal the Reds’ 3-0 win over Cardiff in the FA Youth Cup.

The 16-year-old attacker latched on to Adam Phillips’ pin-point 50-yard pass, took the ball on his chest before expertly unleashing a volley over the stranded keeper.

Liverpool Under-18s coach Neil Critchley raved afterwards to the Liverpool Echo: “It was an unbelievable goal.

“I’m not sure how Ben did it with that swirling wind. To take it on his chest and put it over the keeper like that was an unbelievable bit of skill.”

In other Liverpool news, the Reds are struggling to seal deal for two key transfer targets.