NEIL Mellor insists Ovie Ejaria’s progress over the last 12 months has been “amazing” and backs him to go far at Liverpool.
The 18-year-old scored his first international goal for the England Under-20s on Monday night and has burst onto the scene, after impressing during the Reds’ pre-season tour of America.
Having made his professional debut coming on as a substitute in the League Cup against Derby last month, former Reds strikers Mellor believes that he has all the attributes to go a long way.
Speaking in the latest edition of Liverpool FC magazine, he said: “I watch a lot of the Liverpool under-age sides and his development in the last 12 months has been amazing.
“A year ago he would probably admit that he wasn’t finding it easy in the under-18s. Now he’s training with the first team after a fantastic pre-season where he stood out in games.
“He was imposing himself and doing very well. Technically gifted, he’s comfortable on the ball and has a good engine.
“Obviously he still has a long way to go, but it’s great to see him on the right track and that the hard work of the Academy staff is paying off.”
Ejaria was let go by boyhood club Arsenal in 2014 but Mellor believes he has shown great professionalism to recover from that setback and go on to impress at Liverpool.
“For a young boy to move from London to Liverpool and adjust to a new way of life can’t have been easy.
“It’s the type of challenge players typically have to go through. At those times the question is: how badly do you want to be a professional?
“Ovie has shown how much by leaving an environment where he was comfortable and coming to the north west to try to fulfil his potential.
“He didn’t sulk or spit his dummy out when Arsenal let him go. If he continues to show the same approach, work hard and avoid the inevitable distractions that come along, he can go far.”