Liverpool starlet Mabaya finally returns from injury

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UNSPECIFIED, AUSTRIA - JULY 23: (THE SUN OUT. THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Isaac Mabaya of Liverpool during the Liverpool pre-season training camp on July 23, 2022 in UNSPECIFIED, Austria. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

England-born Zimbabwean starlet Issac Mabaya will be hoping to make up for lost time at Premier League side Liverpool after recently making a return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury.

The 19-year-old young prospect has been missing from action with an injury since September.

Mabaya made his comeback for the Liverpool Under-21 side during their 2-0 victory against Manchester City in the Premier League 2.

Liverpool U21s coach Barry Lewtas revealed that Mabaya is targeting a strong finish to the season after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.

“It’s obviously a positive for him,” said Lewtas in an interview with liverpoolfc.com.

“He’s had his injury issues and he’s been training for a while now. We just want to make sure that we’re giving him the right opportunity to get back playing, finish the season with us, but obviously really kick-start into next season as well.

“It was brilliant to get him on and we put him on in a really important part of the game as well. He’ll be over the moon.”

Isaac Mabaya

The return from injury is a big boost for Mabaya, who had previously looked set for a potential first-team future.

The gifted right-back impressed in pre-season ahead of the 2022/23 campaign and seemed likely to get chances in the senior team.

However, things have not gone as planned for Mabaya following his struggles with fitness issues which has seen fall below fellow Liverpool Academy starlet Connor Bradley in the pecking order at right-back.

Over the same period, another England-born Zimbabwean starlet Trey Nyoni has also been making tremendous strides at the Merseyside.

In February, 16-year-old Nyoni became Liverpool’s youngest ever player to play in the FA Cup following an appearance during the Reds’ 3-0 win over Southampton, barely a few months after joining the club.

While Mabaya’s first team breakthrough has been scuppered by injury this term, however, if he can kick on between now and the summer, he can make another step up for next summer.

Mabaya was called up to the Zimbabwe squad ahead of the start of the World Cup qualifiers in November last year while he was still nursing an injury.

He is eligible through his parents, who are both Zimbabwean, though Mabaya has previously represented England at youth level having been born in Preston.

It would be something of a surprise to see the right-back, who can also play in midfield, join up with the Warriors, having previously turned down approaches.

“He does not have dual-citizenship,” Mabaya’s father, David, told the Herald in March of last year.

“We realised it’s too complicated to play for Zimbabwe, [with] passports etc., it’s a bit of a hassle.”

However, it remains to be seen whether that stance has changed in the last 20 months, with Zimbabwe clearly making an effort to attract young talent.

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