“Beyond His Years…” – Ex-Coach Of Liverpool Starlet Who Was ‘Too Fast’ For Teammates

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By Jack Leon

Liverpool has had a multitude of academy players come throughout the ranks over the years but Dalry’s own Ben Doak seems to be one of the most exciting youngsters in the Premier League, if not the world.

The right-winger started his first-ever Europa League match last month against LASK and recently signed a new long-term contract at Anfield – a sign of the faith The Reds already have in the talented Scot.

Ben Doak: From Celtic Academy to Liverpool First Team

Following what continues to be a breakthrough into becoming a fully-fledged first-team option for Jurgen Klopp, Dan spoke to former Ayr United and Celtic academy coaches Zander Agnew and Greig Robertson to get the lowdown on Doak’s rise to this point.

Zander – who worked both at Ayr and Celtic – said: “We were doing basic to complex drills for nine-year-olds and he was unbelievable. You look at some young kids and wonder what they will be like…and he had everything. 

“Ben was always destined for the big two [Rangers and Celtic]. I remember one game Ben just stepped up and scored five goals against Celtic. He played as a number nine for us but he can play anywhere. 

“He’s going to be something special because it’s not just about your technical ability, your tactical ability, it’s a lot more.”

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Greig who worked with the famous Celtic academy for over two decades and now plies his trade in Boston was equally impressed with Doak: “There is a danger to fast-tracking players… I think with someone like Ben, physically, he was beyond his years. He might not be huge in terms of height but certainly his body. 

“The position that he played, he always caught the eye. He has a throwback to an old-fashioned winger. Something that struck early was his mindset, he was very focused and very driven as a winger. 

“If he was dispossessed by the fullback, he was always adamant about getting on the ball the next time. And that relentlessness was infectious throughout the group. 

“At training, he would ask questions, a coach’s dream. At training and games, he would get better and better every game. That kind of meteoric rise is incredible. He is a very humble kid but he won’t be fazed whatsoever by anything like this. 

“He’ll firmly believe he belongs there. I think the way Ben approaches everything, I can see Ben get better and better within that environment. This kid with his pace and how direct he is, and his desire to score goals, we probably realised we had a special kid.

“We actually realised he was probably too fast for everybody else. We ended up instructing our front line that we had to gamble that second earlier. You have to anticipate that he’s going to beat his man. You need to be off your mark probably a second earlier than previously. We made that adjustment to accommodate for Ben.”


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