Virgil van Dijk impressed by "really talented" Liverpool youngster after first-team inclusion

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has been thoroughly impressed by academy prospect Trey Nyoni, with the 16-year-old a surprise inclusion in the Reds' matchday squad last weekend.

The midfielder was named on the bench during Liverpool's 3-0 win over Brentford on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp without a number of key players through injury and suspension.

The likes of Alexis Mac Allister, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and Ryan Gravenberch were all unavailable to the German, forcing him to include a number of youngsters on the bench.

Nyoni was one of those, the first time he has featured in a matchday squad for the Reds, although he has regularly trained with the first team in recent weeks.

The highly-rated teenager has caught the eye with Liverpool's U18s after making the move to Merseyside from Leicester City's youth setup back in August, and he's managed to catch the attention of the Reds captain.

Speaking to LFCTV, former Liverpool midfielder and U18s coach Jay Spearing stated: "It was really nice going down to the AXA and being around and with him training with the first team.

"Virgil came out, he congratulated him on training with them, he said he’s got a lot more to come and he really liked him.

"Watching the U18s against Middlesbrough as well, Virgil came out to watch and see where Trey was playing – he was playing with the U21s.

"So to have the captain of Liverpool Football Club come to see where you are, how you’re getting on, you’ve obviously caught the attention of the first-team players. As long as he keeps his head down, he keeps going, he’s got a really bright future."

Spearing, who currently plays with the U21s alongside his coaching duties, also came through Liverpool's academy. While the midfielder didn't enjoy the most fruitful career at Anfield, his advice could be incredibly useful to a young talent like Nyoni.

Speaking about Nyoni, he added: "Trey’s been fantastic since he’s come in. With everything that was going on between the two clubs, he came into the club late.

"You’re probably talking into August, maybe into September time, before he joined up with the lads. But since he’s come in, he’s hit the ground running. He’s been a revelation.

"His game understanding for such a young age is incredible. His weight of pass, everything about it. He’s a really talented boy."

Nyoni has scored three goals and grabbed an assist in four U18 matches with the Reds this season and has also featured in the EFL Trophy for Liverpool against League Two Barrow.

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