Liverpool's Harry Wilson convinced youngsters will get chance under Jurgen Klopp
Harry Wilson discusses his new deal, training with Mario Balotelli and skippering Liverpool in Premier League 2
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 12/08/16 6:22am
Liverpool U23 captain, Harry Wilson, says Jurgen Klopp's commitment to giving young players opportunities was a major factor in his decision to sign a new deal.
The 19-year-old - who became Wales' youngest ever international player when he debuted for the Dragons in 2013 aged 16 years and 207 days - penned a new Liverpool contract at the end of last month.
He spent the first half of last season on loan at Crewe before returning to Liverpool where his progress was stunted by a broken toe, sidelining the winger for five months.
"I was absolutely delighted to sign a new contract," Wilson told Sky Sports. "Five months out is a long time but I feel great now after getting five or six games in me recently and getting a new contract gives me the chance to show everyone what I can do again.
"Being here for such a long time I understand the tradition of the club. They teach you how to be a good player and a good person, and with the coaches around me I definitely felt staying here was the right option for me.
"The first-team manager has also shown he's willing to give the young players a chance and that was also a massive part of me signing my deal. If you work hard, and play well, I honestly believe the manager will give you your chance."
Wilson and a number of Liverpool's other youngsters last month had the chance to train with first-team players including striker Mario Balotelli, who turned 26 on Friday.
"When the first-team were on their tour of America we went down to Melwood and for a week and trained with the players that stayed back," Wilson explained.
"He was great and in training he really showed the quality that he has. He was a real help to the young boys and it was just great for all of us to train with him."
Manager Jurgen Klopp has handed first-team debuts to the likes of 16-year-old striker Ben Woodburn, midfielder Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold during pre-season, and Wilson believes the trio acquitted themselves well.
"I think every one of the young lads who have played during pre-season have done themselves justice," he said.
"Ben Woodburn scored a couple of goals then Ovie went into the midfield and Trent has done well in wherever he has been asked to play. They've all done well and it gives us the rest of us encouragement that the manager is prepared to give young players a chance.
Wilson will lead Liverpool's U23s into their opening game of the new Premier League 2 season away at Southampton on Sunday.
"It's a big responsibility and one I'm looking forward to," he said. "I think I can do a good job, especially with helping younger lads coming through who won't be used to playing U23 football.
"I think it [the revamped league] will be good. Teams are able to play three or four older first-team players as well, which will only add to the league. Playing against senior pros will definitely help the development of the young lads in our team."