Georginio Wijnaldum has heaped praise on Liverpool’s trio of starlets and predicted big futures for them in football following the EFL Cup victory midweek.
Dutch schemer Wijnaldum played his part in Jurgen Klopp’s outfit’s 2-0 win over Leeds at Anfield and says he was especially impressed with the performances from Ben Woodburn, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria.
It was Woodburn, of course, who snatched all the headlines and who can argue with that after he catapulted himself into the Liverpool record books by becoming the Reds’ youngest goalscorer, aged 17 years and 45 days.
His goal meant he eclipsed a certain Michael Owen as the Merseysiders’ youngest scorer and he undoubtably deserved his time in the spotlight, along with the adoration from the Kop fans.
But Wijnaldum’s view is that all three youngsters showed they are up to the task of competing for first team places more regularly and aren’t doing their chances any harm whatsoever with dazzling displays like the ones they delivered against Garry Monk’s Championship side.
And he said:
“It’s a really good thing for Ben, a beautiful thing to score a goal. It’s his first goal, and that’s good and nice to see.”
“He can be proud of that. But I think all the young players worked hard to come to the first team and when they are with the first team they work hard to play, and they did. I’m happy for him to come onto the field and score a goal.”
Meanwhile, Wijnaldum has spoken of how quickly he has come to love life at Liverpool after his summer switch to Anfield from Newcastle United, now managed, of course, by Rafa Benitez, former Reds supremo.
He has contributed massively to Liverpool being second in the Premier League table and he says he’d love the opportunity to get to Wembley if Klopp’s troops can see off Southampton in the semi-final, after the Saints dispatched Arsenal 2-0 on Wednesday in the quarter-final.
“Up until now everything is going very well, we’re winning games and playing well. It’s happy times in Liverpool for me.”
Wijnaldum says Liverpool would be silly to write off Southampton in the next round, as they will pose certain dangers. And there is little doubt that, with silverware in sight, complacency won’t creep into players.
“We scored two goals against Leeds and go to the next round. It’s not always easy in a difficult game, but we still did it so that’s good.”