Why Ben Doak Is A Potential Superstar
My tip for the top in tip-top shape
For now, amid the confusion of the club's long-term future off the field, there were a ton of positives from the various young Liverpool lads last night on it. No matter who the owners are in a few years’ time, some of these lads will surely be part of the first-team setup.
To a (young) man they shone, with the exception of a slightly isolated Layton Stewart, who is just doing well to play football again after so many horrific injuries. (Teenagers rarely reach the elite level after ACL injuries; Darwin Núñez is a notable exception, and could maybe be an inspiration. Rhian Brewster and Paul Glatzel both lost too long with serious injuries aged 17-20, and fell behind their peers.)
I've been raving about Ben Doak since viewing all the age-group scouting footage when he signed in the spring, and whose every U18 and U21 game I've since tracked.
He has been my tip for the very top – and he didn't disappoint in a 15-minute cameo where he must have gone past the full-back five times (and only tackled once), and also skinned a man in midfield who couldn’t even get close enough to kick him properly.
He's the best (or most ruthlessly direct) teenage talent I've seen since Michael Owen at the same age, even if it's harder to break through now (more elite foreign players; bigger physiques in general in football in 2022, that make the leap from youth to senior football more of a challenge).
Now, a lot can go wrong: injuries; loss of motivation; big-headedness. But right now, the lad is special.
Doak is not a fancy-footwork showboating seal (no twirling the ball round and round before kicking it out of play), but almost old-fashioned, in that he is a push-and-run merchant, but in a sophisticated way, reminiscent of the best old-school wingers going back to Sir Stanley Matthews – enticing defenders, timing the perfect touch past them, then accelerating like a greyhound.
No excess – just hard-core skinning.
In no game, at any level, have I seen a full-back deal with him. Not one game.
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