Played well again on Sunday so looking forward to seeing his involvement next week against Leeds.
Explained: The experiences inspiring Ejaria's progress
It's a telling sign of Ovie Ejaria's progress that a recent two-week period saw the Liverpool midfielder make his Anfield debut, play in a Premier League game and travel to South Korea for an international tournament.
A handful of pre-season opportunities for Jürgen Klopp’s Reds had served notice of the 19-year-old’s potential during the summer, with his physical prowess, calm touch and strong mentality on show.
But the target for Ejaria when the campaign started remained to establish himself as a key man for Michael Beale’s U23s and further build on an encouraging couple of years at the Academy.
The former Arsenal starlet knew the perils of looking too far ahead. He knew more hard work would be asked of him to ensure his development didn’t stop. He knew Klopp would be watching.
And so it proved.
Ejaria was introduced as a substitute at Derby County in the EFL Cup for his first senior appearance and then earned a maiden start when Tottenham Hotspur visited in the fourth round.
The England youth international lined up in midfield alongside Marko Grujic, Kevin Stewart and Georginio Wijnaldum – with the latter later commenting on how the less experienced trio around him had exhibited no nerves.
“It’s going really well in and around the first team, I’m really enjoying it and hopefully I can stay there if I keep doing well,” Ejaria told Liverpoolfc.com.
On Sunday afternoon, he was on duty for the U23s as they welcomed Reading to Prenton Park for a Premier League 2 fixture that they were in control of for long periods.
He was at the centre of plenty of productive play en route to a 2-0 victory for the young Reds, which was achieved courtesy of goals in either half from Mamadou Sakho and Ben Woodburn.
And after the final whistle, the London-born youngster explained why the role he is currently being given by Beale allows his talents to affect matches.
Ejaria said: “He lets me play with a lot of freedom, and I do well when I’m playing with freedom. It’s really good and I’m enjoying it.
“I was getting a lot of the ball and creating chances [against Reading]. I was trying to score as well, which is something I’m trying to add to my game.
“It was really good, especially in the first half. We should have been three or four up. But we dug in second half and got the win.”
His poise was the catalyst for the opener, as he fashioned a one-two and saw a low shot towards the bottom corner pushed into the path of Sakho for a rebound.
“Ovie stamped his authority on the game early on, didn’t he?” Beale reflected.
Elsewhere, a new avenue for Ejaria’s advancement has also been found with the England U20 side, including a trip to Asia earlier this month for a four-team international tournament.
“A really good experience,” was his measured description of the long-haul journey across the world, where he featured in two games and scored one goal.
That opportunity followed a fine strike for the Young Lions in a meeting with USA the previous month, as they prepare for the U20 World Cup next year.
“When we saw Ejaria initially, you could see he was a lad with really good technical ability and he was one who was going to come through,” said former Liverpool striker David Fairclough in analysing his progress on Sunday.
“This season, he has come through really strongly. Jürgen Klopp involved him, [Trent] Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn in pre-season, and I think they all gained a lot of experience from it and a lot of confidence as well.
“They have just all got to build on that now. But clearly they are three Jürgen Klopp thinks could become really good players in the fullness of time.”
On a seperate note it seems the England Youth set up are determined to break our best players.
After ruining Rossiter when he was played 3 times in less than a week, they've gone and done exactly the same with TAA.
3 games in 5 days, again!! Fair enough he's not injured himself doing so but are they really that f**king useless that they think this is acceptable?