Liverpool news Clarkson was working with Mane and Salah before Blackburn goal MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Leighton Clarkson has impressed Pep Lijnders after making his Liverpool debut earlier this season
Breaking News ! Leighton Clarkson was included on Liverpool's bench for the clash with Leicester. The teenager has caught the eye of Pep Lijners in first-team training and has continued his progress by notching a 'wonderful' strike in front of Jurgen Klopp during a friendly win at Anfield in May. Paul Gorst and Sam Carroll found out who Clarkson is - and why he could be the ideal successor to Fabinho - in May. Leighton Clarkson is accustomed to rapid progress. Having the backing of Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders can never be a bad thing. More so, you would imagine, if you are an 18-year-old who only made your first-team debut in December. After making his Liverpool under-18 bow as an u-16, he soon became a regular for Barry Lewtas' side and was an integral part of the FA Youth Cup winning squad last season. Clarkson, who had captained the youth side on occasion before making the step up, then broke into U23 consideration and in six appearances, following his debut in October, Liverpool tasted victory four times. Before that, they had won just once. The all-action midfielder - who excels at set-piece deliveries - was particularly instrumental in the 5-0 thrashing of Southampton in January. The ECHO understands Clarkson was training with the first-team on a regular basis during this period and Lijnders admitted he was impressed. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah weren't complaining either. Read More Related Articles Leighton Clarkson is Liverpool's hot midfield prospect with tips from Steven Gerrard Read More Related Articles Liverpool vs Leicester LIVE - team news, Shaqiri knock, Clarkson on bench, score and stream “Leighton sees with his own eyes the constant runs of Sadio and Mo in behind," Lijnders said. “He has the capacity to play the passes these type of forwards like to receive, he is the type of number six we really like, one who can dictate but dictate with direction, who can speed up the tempo of the positional play, the one who has always time on the ball.” Those two words - 'number six' - might well be a route into senior consideration. With an unconventional transfer landscape forthcoming due to the coronavirus crisis, Klopp could look to promote from within and there are not many who fit the midfield mould outside of the first-team. Adam Lallana's expected exit frees up one spot but it looks like Curtis Jones is winning that race, at present, given his excellent breakout campaign in the senior side. Clarkson, however, could provide something different in the long-term. While the current crop base their game around relentless press and physicality, the teenager possesses different gifts. Diminutive in stature, he will have some growing to do, but a slight frame is no barrier to midfield excellence at elite level. You only need to look at the steady stream of nimble-footed midfield schemers to have made the top from Barcelona's famed La Masia academy over the last two decades. Sitting at the base of midfield, Clarkson can get his team on the front foot in an instant with his expansive passing range. Similar in frame to Chelsea starlet Billy Gilmour, who made his Premier League debut this term, the prospect has a technical gift that is well liked within Melwood. Liverpool vs Leicester City Liverpool vs Leicester LIVE Liverpool line ups TV channel and how to watch "He has been fantastic this year," U18 boss Lewtas, who has worked with Clarkson since he was 11, told the ECHO.
. "He played an important role in that season and was a cog in the works, but this season, I have seen him step up and become more of a leader. He has taken more responsibility because he is now a second year and more experienced. "He has U23 exposure and a little bit of that with the seniors at Melwood, too. I have seen him grow as a player and as also a person, taking on responsibility and that is great to see." Clarkson made his first-team debut as a substitute in the Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat to Aston Villa in December before travelling to Shrewsbury Town for the FA Cup fourth round clash a month later. Narrowly missing out on the matchday squad as 19th man, he was selected from the start a week later in the Anfield replay and did not let anybody down. Chosen alongside Pedro Chirivella and academy partner Jake Cain in midfield, Clarkson helped Liverpool progress with an excellent personal showing. "It was great to see," Lewtas said. "Him and Jake have played central midfield for some time so to see them against Shrewsbury playing so well was great for them and their families. It has been a really pleasing year for him." Despite penning his first professional contract with Liverpool last summer, club officials have already contacted Clarkson's representatives about extending and improving his deal in line with their policy of rewarding notable progress.
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The aim for next season, it is understood, is regular U23 football and as much time around first-team training as possible. Afterwards, perhaps, could Liverpool consider a loan, but he has time on his side and plenty of it. A move could materialise if the right club is found but club insiders are relaxed about the current situation. "He has moved up to the U23s and he has become a key player there too," Lewtas said. "It is important for him to continue his development now. He just has to carry on listening, learning and taking on board all the advice. I have been really pleased with how he has grown as a player and person." If Clarkson continues to listen to the advice of those around him, it will not be long before he hurdles another obstacle well in advance of his years. That next step will be lining up alongside Mane, Salah and co. on the biggest stage. After all, he can already see their runs. Klopp and Lijnders, in turn, see his progress.
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