Liverpool’s young loanees should take inspiration from England’s World Cup stars during difficult moments of their time away from the club, Neil Critchley believes.
Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn and Herbie Kane all departed the academy this summer for season-long stints in the Football League, joining Derby County, Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers respectively.
Wilson felt the benefits of a similar loan stint last term, scoring seven goals in 14 appearances for Hull City after joining on temporary deal in January.
But, even if things don’t run smoothly for the Welshman and his fellow prospects this time, U23s boss Critchley doesn’t want to see them lose heart.
He said: “It would help if Harry could do what he did at Hull last season. Both Harry and Ben have made good moves to big clubs. They needed to go and play games.
“Ben will have a fight on his hands to get in the team but he played against Hull in the League Cup. Harry is in the team at Derby.
“They need consistent game time in the Championship, which is a relentless league. It’s a big ask both physically and mentally to stand up to that challenge when you’re a young player.
“It will be really intriguing to see how they acquit themselves this season.
“Herbie Kane has gone to Doncaster and played extremely well last weekend so he’s off and running as well.
“The pathway to Liverpool’s first team is not always straightforward. It can be up and down. You only have to look at England’s World Cup squad in the summer to see the pathways.
“Very few of them jumped straight into the first team at their club and stayed there. A lot of them had loan experience and some had loans where it didn’t go well.
“We’ll make sure we support our boys out on loan, even if it doesn’t go well, we know they’re still good players. If you have the right character then your ability always comes to the fore.”
Critchley also revealed that a number of other academy starlets could follow the aforementioned trio out of the door.
Asked whether further departures were likely, he replied: “Yeah, possibly. You are always governed by interest from other clubs.
“We have until the end of August and I’d imagine there will be one or two more leaving the building.
“But it has to be right for them and right for us. We all have to believe that it’s the right move.”