Liverpool debutant Ovie Ejaria priased by Michael Beale

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - JULY 08: Ovie Ejaria of Liverpool gets past Jay Harris of Tranmere Rovers during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Tranmere Rover
Image: Ovie Ejaria (right) in action during the pre-season win over Tranmere

Liverpool handed a first-team debut to young midfielder Ovie Ejaria in Friday's 1-0 win at Tranmere and U21s boss Michael Beale is not surprised by the player's rapid rise.

The 18-year-old debuted alongside new signings Loris Karius, Joel Matip and Sadio Mane as Liverpool began their pre-season campaign at Prenton Park, hours after manager Jurgen Klopp signed a new long-term contract.

Last October - the day after Klopp was presented as Reds boss - Ejaria, then 17, scored the winner for Liverpool's U18s against Stoke at Kirkby in front of the watching German. 

"I'm very excited about Ovie Ejaria," Liverpool U21s boss Beale told Sky Sports"I knew him from my time in London. He went to West Ham and ended up at Arsenal [where he was offered a scholarship to stay before joining us in 2014].

"He's done very well with us and has trained in and around the first team, but he's managed to settle well here in the North. He's a little tall and gangly and we're still waiting for him to develop more physically, but he is a lovely player and has fantastic technical ability.

"Nights like Tranmere and playing in front of a local crowd alongside first-team players are great experiences for the young players to show that they're progressing, but at the same time it's also important they keep their feet on the floor."

Ejaria is likely to feature prominently for the U21s next season and Beale expects talented young forward Yan Dhanda to follow suit and also make the step up from the club's U18 side.

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KIRKBY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Yan Dhanda (arm raised) of Liverpool celebrates his goal with team mate Adam Phillips d
Image: Yan Dhanda celebrates scoring for Liverpool's U18s

Days after his 17th birthday, England youth international Dhanda became the first player of Indian heritage to sign a professional contract at Liverpool, and has just returned to light training after an ankle injury.

"Yan is one of a number U18 players that we are very proud of and he's a lovely kid with fantastic support from a wonderful family," Beale said.

"He's very dedicated, hard-working and has improved massively over the last year.

"Technically, he has all the right attributes to be a football player and it's now just about joining all the dots up, being patient and giving him our support. If we can do that I'm sure he'll go on to have a really promising career.

"He's got some great players to look up to and every opportunity he had to train with and watch Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino up close last season was fantastic for him.

"He's been out running and should be back in a week or two, so we'll go from there, but I expect him to play in the u21s quite a bit this year once he regains full fitness."

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