IT took a while for American teenager Brooks Lennon to realise his dream of pulling on the red of Liverpool.
Having signed from Salt Lake City, after a successful trial at Kirkby, it took over a year and a half for “everything to settle down and get put into place.” But, as he said to The Anfield Wrap, that just made him even more determined to prove that the club were right to show such faith in him.
“The whole process was such a long road, and so difficult. But the support that Liverpool showed and how they helped me through it, it made me feel welcome and I’m really happy for that.”
Now that he’s here, he is determined to make up for lost time. To the extent that he admits having to sit out of U23 games for star players like Danny Ings, as he did in their 3-0 victory against Sunderland, can be as frustrating as it is educational.
“I definitely like watching Danny, when he drops down. Just because I like the way he plays and obviously he has played at international level, so I have learned a lot from him. Just by watching him and observing I can learn different things from him every game and every practice, so in that aspect I am happy when he drops down every so often.”
“But on the other side it is frustrating, because when you train all week, when game time comes you want to play. So it is frustrating, but that is how life works, you just need to keep training hard and when the chance comes you have to capitalise on it.”
He certainly did that a week ago against Spurs, coming off the bench to score his first goal for the newly re-branded Under-23 side in a 6-2 victory. He hopes that shows the manager he is ready for the team when he is needed.
“I want to be seen as a player Mick (Beale) can rely on. I think I can be that player that everyone looks at in the Under-23 side to get goals from. Hopefully this season I can keep playing and progressing and score as many goals as I can and hopefully help the team have a successful season.”
Brooks talks like he plays, direct and enthusiastically. He is quite happy to sit in a room in Liverpool and say his hero his former Manchester United player Cristiano Ronaldo, because of how hard the Portuguese forward works on every aspect of his game. He talks confidently about his own strengths as a player, breaking the line, finishing, whilst also openly acknowledging where he needs to improve.
Brooks turned 19 this week, we gave him an Anfield Wrap mug as a present, and he admits that this is a time when you reflect on where you are in your career and where you want to be in a years time.
“I set personal goals, weekly, monthly and yearly. I am happy where I am at right now, having just turned 19. Hopefully, this time next year, I can be up at Melwood full-time. I just need to keep working hard and see what happens.”
Time will tell if Lennon can have an impact on the Liverpool first team. But his attitude will certainly give him every chance.
The Under-23s face German side Wolfsburg at Prenton Park on Wednesday night at 7pm in the Premier League International Cup.
Tickets are just £4 for adults and £1 for children and concessions. Members and season ticket holders can gain admission free of charge.