December 16th: LFC Reserves gives us his thoughts on 16 year old Jordan Rossiter in the latest article in the TBT Advent Calendar series.

Jordan Rossiter, born on 24th March 1997 is a local lad produced by the Academy at Kirkby. He’s been touted since a young age as being very highly rated, including Robbie Fowler labelling him “potentially a young Stevie G.”

The 16 year old actually made his debut for the U18 side two seasons ago in March 2012, coming on as a substitute in a 4-3 defeat to West Brom. There were already signs from such an early age that Rossiter could play beyond his years, with the mentioned debut coming on his 15th birthday. Since that debut, Rossiter has progressed at an astounding rate. He was a regular name on the team sheet for the U18’s in 2012/13 season, being given the captain’s armband on a number of occasions. Even as 15/16 year old, his quality was evident. This season saw him make his U21 debut on the opening day of the season, in a 4-3 defeat against Southampton.

Up until the last year or so, in his early career, he has often played as a central midfielder. Since then, with the certain attributes he has shown, he has developed into a very talented defensive midfielder. He has quite a unique set of skills including his reading of the game, often intercepting opposition attacks with ease and allowing team mates to counter attack. His most outstanding attribute you see when you watch him play is his aggression. The ferocity in which he tackles players is great to watch, especially when you realise the age difference between himself and his opponents. The other part of his game which tends to stand out is his passing. It’s not necessarily his range of passing, but the intelligence applied. The tempo is kept at a quick standard, often spreading the ball from one side of the pitch to the other.

Hypothetically speaking, if you look at the type of player Rossiter is, it’s exactly what the Liverpool first team could use in midfield. That monster of a player who will put his body on the line, yet keeping the short, quick play ticking over by building from the back in between the two central defenders.

So, what does the future hold for for Jordan Rossiter? Well, it’s quite obvious that the coaching staff are trying to expand what he can offer to the team. Steve Hunter, part of LFCTV’s commentary team recently said that Academy coach Andy O’Boyle has been working with Rossiter to try and convert him into more of a box-to-box midfielder. The only immediate concern that comes with that is the slight lack of pace and mobility in Rossiter’s game to cover such a wide area. They are quite important attributes to have when covering both defensive and offensive duties. In the last couple of games, we’ve seen Rossiter break forward more with Jordan Lussey covering him, and to an extent, its paid dividends for the team with the midfielder providing two goals in the last three games against PSV & Bolton. Watching him play though, his position looks best just in front of the back four. Breaking up opposition play and helping build Liverpool’s play from the back are the two areas which have been a joy to watch this season.

So that’s what you can expect to see from Rossiter on the field, but what about his chances at Liverpool? Well, just looking at his meteoric rise through the U18 and U21 sides shows how highly he is thought of at Liverpool. The midfielder was actually involved in the first team squad for Capital One Cup tie against Notts County, although he failed to earn a place on the bench. He’s clearly in the thoughts of Brendan Rodgers but it’s quite obvious that things just need to be slowed down with Rossiter. He’s consistently playing very well at an age group much older than him, but it’s vital we don’t rush the lad too much. There’s no question an opportunity will arise for Jordan in the first team at some point in the future, it’s just a matter of when. If a couple of injuries creep up in midfield for the first team later on in the season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 16 year old sneak a place on the bench.

As with all exciting prospects at the Academy, time will tell if they can grab the chance to push through to the first team, but I believe Jordan has a great chance as he is arguably the best local talent the club has had since Steven Gerrard & Jamie Carragher.

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