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Meet the Academy: Rhian Brewster

Rhian Brewster has lifted the lid on why he chose to leave Chelsea at the age of 14 and head north to pursue a career with Liverpool.

The 16-year-old striker has caught the eye in Kirkby so far this season and after starting life in Neil Critchley’s U18s squad, he celebrated his debut for the U23s by netting in a win over Ipswich Town in January.

Explaining his reasons for swapping the bright lights of London for Merseyside, Brewster told Liverpoolfc.com: “I was at Chelsea from the age of seven to 14 but then I told them I wanted to look at my options because I didn’t see a pathway to become a first-team player there.

“There were a few clubs interested but once I knew Liverpool were one of them it was an easy choice.

“Liverpool is a club that does give young players opportunities and it’s a great feeling to play for this club.

“I love it up here. My mum came down to live with me for a spell but it wasn’t fair expecting her to stay here with me, so I now live with house parents who are really nice and look after me.

“All I want to do is one day play for Liverpool’s first team. I will do all I can to try and make that happen, so if that means doing extra work in training I will do it.

“If it means not going out with my friends, eating well and working hard every day, that has to be done and I will do it.”

Read on to find out more about Brewster and which Liverpool legend he would love to emulate one day, in our Meet the Academy feature…

Before you made your debut for the U23s you scored a hat-trick for the first team in a behind closed doors friendly at Melwood in front of Jürgen Klopp. What was that like?

“That was a great experience. I didn’t think I was going to start and to then score the first goal after a great team move was a fantastic feeling. I got a second goal and then luckily for me I managed to get a hat-trick. I got a ‘well done’ from the boss which was amazing. My confidence was sky high.”

You also got the chance to play at Anfield for the first time this season wearing the No.9 in front of the Kop against Tottenham Hotspur. What did that mean to you?

“That was just an amazing experience. The night before I could not sleep at all! To get the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Ben Woodburn, Sheyi Ojo, Harry Wilson, Kevin Stewart and Trent Alexander-Arnold was just a great experience. All of my family came up from London and it was great to celebrate Kevin’s winner in front of the Kop.”

You scored on your debut for the U23s this season; how different a challenge is it playing at this level compared to the U18s?

“Playing at U23 level is a lot different than playing for the U18s. You get a lot of chances to score when you play for the U18s but it’s a big step up playing for the U23s. In the last couple of games I’ve played for the U23s I’ve hardly had a shot, but I just have to keep working hard for the team and give my all. I know I will get chances in this team, we are a very attacking side and it’s brilliant to play in.”

The former Liverpool U23s boss Michael Beale coached you as a youngster at Chelsea before you were reunited with him at the Academy. How big an influence has he been on your career?

“I keep in touch with Michael and I can tell you he is enjoying it out there in Brazil. He has been great with me and helped me so much and I really appreciate it. I know I can become a better player learning off the coaches at the Academy like Mike Garrity, Neil Critchley and Alex Inglethorpe. They have helped me so much with my game and always give me great advice.”

I know on the Kirkby training pitches you have been working closely with Liverpool legend Steve McManaman – how have you found that?

“It’s great to learn from people like that. I wanted to work on different types of finishing from crosses and he was a big help for me. Steve was giving the full-backs and wingers great advice on where they should put the ball and he also put a few crosses in for me himself. He put it on a plate for me to score!”

Supporters have noticed you always play with a smile on your face – that’s important to you isn’t it?

“When I’m happy I play at my best and I always like to play with a smile on my face. Being happy puts a smile on my face. It’s important to stay happy and focused on my job and score lots of goals for this team.”

If you had to pick one current Premier League player you look up to and see yourself in, who would it be?

“Luis Suarez. I know he is no longer in the Premier League but what a player he was for Liverpool! Suarez is amazing and I look up to him. His playing style is a bit like mine, quick feet, can score goals and if I could play for Liverpool’s first team like him one day that would be amazing.”

Who in Liverpool’s first-team squad do you admire most?

“It’s got to be Roberto Firmino. I try and mimic the way he plays and try and be myself as well. Firmino is a team player and he scores goals.”

What’s the highlight of your career so far?

“Playing regularly for Liverpool, making my debut for the U23s and scoring for England U17s.”

What’s your dream in football?

“Winning the Champions League and getting to a World Cup with England and winning it.”

What’s the best game you’ve ever watched?

“Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund, the 4-3 game at Anfield last season. What a game that was!”

Favourite sport other than football?

“Basketball.”

Favourite subject at school?

“PE, and I also liked drama.”

Favourite food?

“Carbonara.”

Favourite TV show?

“Not any particular show but I do like watching basketball. LeBron James is the man!”

What music are you listening to at the moment?

“I listen to Rap and a bit of RnB. I know Okera Simmonds has got a bit of stick off the lads for picking the music in the changing room but I am in his corner on this one. I do like the songs he picks.”

We know Glen McAuley likes his Conor McGregor style goal celebrations, do you have a unique celebration when you score?

“I used to do a back-flip when I scored, but I don’t think the coaches would let me away with that playing for Liverpool! So now I do a knee slide, it’s perfect when it’s wet for that!”

Describe yourself in three words…

"Funny, confident and character."

Describe Liverpool FC in three words…

"Amazing, fantastic and family."

This syndicated post originally appeared at LiverpoolFC News on 6 March 2017

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