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A Season of Patience for Ben Woodburn

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With World Cup Football the talk of the nation, we thought we would give you an update on the story of local boy, Ben Woodburn.

It may have passed unnoticed but during Liverpool's final Premier League game and six minutes before the end of the 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, the official held aloft his electronic board to signify the end of the afternoon for Mohamed Salah. His replacement was Ben Woodburn.

That brief outing was Ben's only top-flight action of the season, and only his second senior appearance in 12 months. Sitting on the bench as an unused substitute aside, Ben was with Liverpool's under-23s while also skipper of the under-19s side that reached the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Youth League.

The season had tantalisingly hinted at more, particularly back in September at the time of his only other senior Reds appearance of the campaign. At that time, Ben came off the bench and impressed during the 2-0 League Cup third round defeat at Leicester City.

That came just three weeks after Ben, still then only 17, kept Wales in contention for World Cup qualification by scoring a brilliant winner to defeat Austria just five minutes into his international debut as a late substitute.

Woodburn was then the talk of his country. In Liverpool, however, he has faded from the first-team picture, certainly in comparison to his breakthrough campaign the previous year when he enjoyed five starts, five appearances from the bench and, of course, became the club's youngest-ever goalscorer when netting against Leeds United in the League Cup in November 2016.

Interesting, though, was Liverpool's decision in January not to send Woodburn out on loan.

It was determined that Woodburn's development would be better served at Melwood, where he has subsequently trained regularly with Jurgen Klopp's senior squad.

Indeed, Ben was on the bench for away legs at Manchester City and Roma in the Champions League, and travelled to Kiev with the party for the final.

Ben has plenty of time on his side. He signed a long-term deal last autumn and Klopp is a huge admirer of his talent and will give youth an opportunity to flourish when the time is right.

Ben continues to develop, both physically and in terms of the nuances of the game without compromising the raw skills that made him such a thrilling find.

Patience is a virtue ....

An intriguing season awaits us all. Watch Tattenhall Online for updates.

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