Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp has said he ‘couldn’t deal with’ how cool 17-year-old Isaac Mabaya was on Liverpool’s initiation night for new players this week.
Speaking to liverpoolfc.com, Klopp said he was impressed with how the youngster handled singing in front of the first-team players and staff.
“The young kids, the self-confidence they have at that young age, I think that’s a really good sign for the team as well,” said the Liverpool manager. “How the team let these boys grow next to them. Seventeen years old, Isaac [Mabaya], a little mic check! I couldn’t deal with that. So, really cool, cool moments the whole night.”
It must be nerve-wracking for the young players to get up in-front of international superstars and world-class coaching staff. But by the sounds of it Mabaya wasn’t fazed in the slightest. Go on, lad!
Mabaya firmly on Klopp’s radar now
It hasn’t just been off the pitch where Mabaya has been impressing in pre-season. The teenager was excellent during Liverpool’s two games in Thailand and Singapore.
Those two performances earned him a place in Austria for this week’s training camp and started in the friendly against Reb Bull Salzburg on Wednesday evening.
Although his game-time will presumably continue to decrease until the start of the season, the experience of this week will have been invaluable.
Mabaya hadn’t previously been around Klopp’s first-team squad. Now that he’s put himself on the boss’ radar, he can expect to be around the senior team more in the future.
It certainly helps his cause that he’s versatile. The young man from Preston has played a lot of his football for the academy teams in midfield.
However, it was at right-back where he shone in the friendlies for Liverpool. With Calvin Ramsay still yet to shake off an injury, there may still be an opening as back-up to Trent Alexander-Arnold.
For every minute that he impresses Klopp in Austria, his goal of becoming a first-team player will get closer.
There’s still a long road ahead for Mabaya to do that. But he certainly hasn’t done his chances any harm over the last three weeks.