One for the Future: Liverpool striker Adam Morgan
Adam Morgan has grown up watching Liverpool strikers write their names into folklore.
Ian Rush may have been slightly before his time, but Morgan has been spoilt for choice when it comes to goalscoring role models in his 18 years so far.
Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and now Luis Suarez became icons at Anfield for their ability to hit the back of the net.
Has Merseysider Morgan got what it takes to follow in their footsteps?
The 18-year-old has established himself as a natural finisher during his time in Liverpool’s development teams, and has already had a brief taste of first-team action.
Morgan played three times in the club’s Europa League campaign this season, while he was also given an opportunity by Brendan Rodgers in last year’s pre-season tour of America.
As a seemingly natural goalscorer, and left footed, the comparisons to Kop legend Fowler are obvious.
Morgan’s stats at youth level are frighteningly good, and he once scored in 13 successive games for Liverpool’s academy and reserve teams.
The key for him now is to somehow translate that to senior level and break into a team that already boasts the likes of Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini.
However, Rodgers has shown he is willing to put his faith in youth, as the success of Raheem Sterling, Suso, Andre Wisdom and others has proved this season.
The hard-working Morgan still has a way to go before he can be considered a go-to man for Rodgers, but he has been paid glowing tributes from key figures at the club.
His hero, Fowler, certainly believes the teenager can realise his dream of being a regular fixture in the Liverpool team.
Morgan scored against Toronto in pre-season in 2012, and Fowler was impressed.
He told the club’s official website: “As a goalscorer I think he’s fantastic.
“I was lucky enough to train with him at the academy last year when I was doing some coaching.
“He is very left footed and his finishing is very good.
“He is composed in front of goal and Rushie [Ian Rush] would tell you as well, if you are composed and patient in front of goal then you will have a chance.
“He never looks ruffled and that to me is a great sign regardless of what level you are playing at. He scored a goal against Toronto and that is a good sign.
“He’s a young lad, he’s got a lot to learn about his play outside the box but that will come.
“As a finisher he is probably one of the best I’ve seen for a long, long time to be honest.”
In an attempt to give Morgan some first-team experience, Liverpool sent him out on loan to Rotherham United for a month in January.
He made just one appearance in League Two for the Millers, meaning his loan spell was a frustrating one, and he may need to prove himself at a lower level before being given a serious chance at Anfield.
Rodgers does appear ready to be patient with Morgan, though.
He gave the striker his competitive debut for the club in August 2012 in a Europa League tie against Hearts, and involved him heavily in their pre-season campaign.
Rodgers has no doubts the player can fit into his passing style and have a great career on Merseyside.
After Morgan scored against Toronto, Rodgers said, as reported by talkSPORT: “He’s technically good.
“He’s got a natural eye for goal – he’s got that natural instinct to score, but I was also pleased with the cleverness in his pressing [against Toronto].
“He pressed the ball really well. That forced them into some mistakes.”
England have also recognised Morgan over the years, and he has represented his country on numerous occasions.
His debut for the England U17s came in August 2010, and he went on to score four times in 17 appearances for them.
Since moving into the U19 side, he has scored once in five games, but it is very much his club career he must now concentrate on as he looks to establish himself in Liverpool’s first-team squad.
There is no immediate demand on him to produce, but his current deal runs out in 2014 so he will be eager to prove by then that he is worthy of being a first-team player.
The signs do appear to point towards a positive future for Morgan, although much of the competition he will face may come from his fellow academy graduates at Liverpool.
Jerome Sinclair, in particular, is making rapid strides, while German 18-year-old Samed Yesil joined the club last summer and is tipped for great things.
Morgan will have to ensure he is ahead of the likes of them in the pecking order if Liverpool are to give him a chance, as it is clear there is a great crop of youngsters coming through at Anfield.
Fowler is the player he is mostly compared to, but former Reds defender Gary Gillespie feels he is similar to another player.
He told the radio station: “I’ve likened him [Morgan] to John Aldridge more than anyone else I’ve seen.
“When balls come into the box he seems to be there.
“He’s predatory and that’s what you’ve got to be as a striker.… There are other things to his game, too; he’s got two good feet, his work-rate is pretty good, he’ll run the channels for you and close people down…
“It’s probably too early [to promote Morgan to the first team] right now, but we could do worse than throwing him into the team and giving him a chance.”
Attempting to follow in the footsteps of Rush, Fowler, Owen, Torres and Suarez is undoubtedly daunting, but Morgan’s record in Liverpool’s youth set-up seems to suggest he has a chance.
A loan spell away from Anfield within the next 12 months may make or break his career on Merseyside and help keep him ahead of his young contemporaries.
It’s now the time for Morgan to deliver.