In the aftermath of Liverpool’s Premier League title win, 17-year-old Layton Stewart had an extra reason to be joyful as he signed a brand new contract with the Reds following a promising season among the youth ranks.
Stewart first joined the academy aged seven after being spotted by LFC scouts. The young Liverpudlian went on to represent the Reds at every age level within the academy, showing skill well beyond his years – during one single u16 season, the young forward scored an outstanding 56 goals.
It is no surprise then that he quickly went on to make his u18s debut at just 14, whilst training under Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
A brilliant statistic about Stewart is that he has scored against club rivals Everton at every level during his time with the academy, from the u7s to the u18s. “It’s always an easier way to get people to like you, scoring against Everton,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
This season he joined the u18 squad permanently and during his first match scored two key goals that contributed to a 7-1 victory. In the u18 Premier League this year Stewart netted a hugely impressive 11 goals in 12 games, as well as five other goals in other competitions.
One of his most impressive performances came towards the end of the cut-short season, when he scored a hat-trick against Sunderland.
Stewart also featured in the u19 UEFA Youth League Squad, scoring two key goals against Napoli and Genk. His 86th-minute equaliser in the Napoli game was crucial to the team’s success in their Group, which they went on to finish top of.
In addition to this, his impressive attacking performances for the u18s resulted in him being invited to play in an u23s match against Chelsea that ended 1-1. Also, like many of the players featured in our Future Stars series, the young forward was also involved in the Carabao Cup quarter-final clash against Aston Villa.Embed from Getty Images
Stewart is determined to step up and play with the u23s permanently and then, one day, the senior squad. He has been able to train with the first team at Melwood on a few occasions, and spends plenty of time studying the Reds’ forward line players including Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah.
Unfortunately, the Liverpudlian’s progress was recently stunted when he suffered an ankle injury that required an operation, but his rehabilitation went well.
While Stewart has had a very successful youth career, he will have to continue to work hard and perform well in order to gain a spot in the senior squad in the future.
There are a number of other young talents at Kirkby and Melwood, including forwards Fidel O’Rourke and Rhian Brewster, who may threaten his place as a future first-team starter.
However, following the signing of his brand new contract, it is clear that the club believes in the 17-year-old’s pace and goal-scoring ability.
Keep an eye out for this young Red in future u18s and u23s matches – Jürgen Klopp certainly will.
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