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'What a talent this young man is' - Klopp hands teen idol Woodburn new 5-year deal

Liverpool’s youngest ever goalscorer became eligible to ink fresh terms after turning 18 this month.

LIVERPOOL HAVE MOVED swiftly to secure Wales international Ben Woodburn on a new five-year deal as the teenager’s progress continues apace.

Having celebrated his 18th birthday this month, the club’s youngest ever goalscorer became eligible to ink fresh terms.

The contract the forward signed last November was in keeping with the maximum three-annum period for first-year professionals.

There was no doubt that Liverpool would offer Woodburn an improved proposal at the earliest opportunity given the admiration of his talent, attitude and application within Melwood and beyond.

“This is brilliant news, although without sounding complacent about it, it is absolutely not a surprise,” Reds boss Jurgen Klopp told the club’s official website.

“Ben knows how committed we are to him and he and his family know this is the best environment for him to grow, learn more and become even better and better.

“What a talent this young man is. We don’t call him the Prince of Wales for nothing, although judging by his facial expression when we do he would probably be happy if we stopped with this!

“Ben is that perfect balance of talent and attitude. One of either is OK — to fulfil your potential at the very highest level you need to have the maximum of both.

“I like that he is prepared to be patient. He has already had some big playing moments, for Liverpool and of course Wales. But when we ask him to go to the Academy and do things like play for Stevie’s [Gerrard] U19s in the Uefa Youth League, on nights we play Champions League football, he approaches it so well.”

The deal represents more advancement for Woodburn during a remarkable 12 months, in which he made his senior debut for Liverpool before eclipsing Michael Owen in the League Cup victory over Leeds United to become their youngest goalscorer.

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He was voted the Academy Player of the Year for 2016-17 and translated his club form to the international stage.

The starlet netted on his senior debut for Wales in the World Cup qualifier against Austria with only Gareth Bale converting for the national team at an earlier age.

“I think there is loads of room for improvement,” Woodburn, who has made 10 appearances for Liverpool and has four caps for his country, said.

“I’ve just got to keep working and trying in training every day and hopefully I will improve. Defending and maybe getting a few more goals [are what I want to improve]. Just trying to come in with the first team and play like a first-team player.

“But I think I’ve grown as a player and matured physically and technically, and grown in confidence. For the rest of this season, my aim is just to carry on, try to play as many games for the U19s and first team. Hopefully I will get some more appearances for the first team and progress in the U19s Champions League.”

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