Klopp reveals Woodburn returned to pre-season in ‘bad shape’

Joe Williams

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed he has a new nickname for Ben Woodburn after his exploits on international duty with Wales.

The 17-year-old scored in Wales’ international against Austria and grabbed an assist versus Moldova to help boost his country’s chances of quaifying for the World Cup via the play-offs.

And, despite Klopp admitting the youngster came back from holiday “not in the best shape”, he was full of praise for Woodburn.

“I can’t stop calling him Prince of Wales,” Klopp said in Friday’s press conference. “I’m not sure he likes it but I love it.

“I saw the interview he gave together with Bale and I’m sure you can see in Ben’s eyes what it meant to him.

“The most important thing is he’s not just a good footballer but a good, clever person.

“He’s ready for playing in all different teams we have. We give ourselves the freedom to learn with the first team and play wherever we need him.

“We all know the stories about young kids getting impatient. I have at least 50% in his development. We know our responsibility and we are ready to help him.

“He came back from the summer break not in the best shape, football wise, but in the last two or three weeks everything came back.

“He’s hard-working, had good games in pre-season and in the last two or three weeks everything was back: the speed was back, cheeky again. He’s very football smart.

“We are happy to have him and still want to help him and be a huge part of his development.”