Home News Jurgen Klopp names unheralded Liverpool youngster as “joy to watch”

Jurgen Klopp names unheralded Liverpool youngster as “joy to watch”

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Jurgen Klopp praised the impact of James McConnell after the teenager made another successful contribution against Leicester.

McConnell has featured in the second half of all three of Liverpool’s pre-season friendlies so far this summer, operating comfortably across the midfield area among the squad’s more established names.

Speaking after his side’s 4-0 victory over Leicester, Klopp described McConnell as a “joy to watch” and lauded his ability to drop into the No. 6 position despite limited previous experience in that role.

On the teenager’s display, the boss enthusiastically said: “James in the six is just a joy to watch, the boy never played in that position before, we put him there and he throws his heart on the pitch.”

Despite previously indicating that this wouldn’t be the case, Klopp made wholesale changes at the break against Leicester as he switched his entire outfield around for the second half.

SINGAPORE - Sunday, July 30, 2023: Liverpool's James McConnell during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The rotation throughout pre-season has provided Liverpool’s youngsters with a platform to express themselves and showcase what they can do, something which McConnell and several of his peers have been the beneficiaries of.

When referencing the young talent in the squad, Klopp expressed his delight with the progress being made while insisting that his side mustn’t become overly reliant on the younger players as they continue to develop.

“The young boys took the chance to show up. I told them a week or so ago in the dressing room, I saw a lot of young players in my career but these are special,” he continued.

“Let’s see where it will lead us, but if these boys play the main role next season, we will have a problem.

SINGAPORE - Sunday, July 30, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at the Singapore National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We use these boys in moments where it’s really going well, one here and one there, and they have time to develop.”

McConnell is one of a number of youngsters who will be keen to continue making the most of his opportunities this summer and catch the eye of the manager ahead of the new season.

The 18-year-old signed from Sunderland in 2019, registering five goals and three assists from 13 U18 Premier League appearances last season.

With Liverpool embarking on a Europa League campaign for the first time since reaching the final in 2016, there will no doubt be more chances for McConnell to demonstrate his talents next season as the Reds look to fight on all fronts once again.