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5 things you may not know about Liverpool youngster Ki-Jana Hoever

The 16-year-old became Liverpool’s youngest-ever player in the FA Cup on Monday against Wolves.

Teenager Ki-Jana Hoever became Liverpool’s youngest-ever player in the FA Cup when the 16-year-old made his first-team debut as a sixth-minute substitute for Dejan Lovren in the third round tie at Wolves.

Hoever is the third-youngest player of all time to feature for the club and Press Association Sport takes at look at the defender.

History

Born on January 18, 2002. He joined Ajax’s academy after a spell with AZ Aklmaar. He moved to Liverpool – who beat off competition from Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea – in the summer but had to wait until September for his international clearance. As he had not signed a professional contract Ajax were only entitled to minimum compensation. He scored three goals in his first five matches for Holland Under-17s.

Rapid rise

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Jurgen Klopp says Hoever is one for the future (Nick Potts/PA)

The highly-rated Dutch youth international made his debut for Liverpool Under-18s in a 4-1 win over Newcastle on September 15. He made his UEFA Youth League debut three days later against Paris St Germain and his Premier League 2 bow for the under-23s came at the end of November against Everton. Late last month he joined first-team training at Melwood.

Hoever’s highly-rated

He made such an impression in his Premier League 2 debut against Everton coach Neil Critchley said: “Unbelievable. Sixteen years old? Just… wow, really!” Jurgen Klopp, when talking about the prospect of Hoever making his debut against Wolves, admitted he viewed the Dutchman as one for long-term development. “He is for sure for the future of the club, but when the future starts I do not know,” said the German. “It will happen automatically. It is a nice prospect for the next months and years.”

Style

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Ki-Jana Hoever has been compared to Virgil van Dijk (Richard Sellers/PA)

The 16-year-old can play at centre-back or on the right side of defence and has already drawn comparisons with compatriot and now first-team team-mate Virgil Van Dijk. He has also played further forward for Liverpool’s youth teams with his standout display coming in that 1-0 win over Everton. His development was certainly helped by his time in Ajax’s academy. As Liverpool Under-18s manager Barry Lewtas said: “He comes from a good stock. I’d feel embarrassed if I sat here and took credit for him.”

Anyone feeling old?

While Hoever was just learning to stand up and probably and say his first word as a 10-month-old, current Liverpool team-mate James Milner was making his first-team debut for Leeds aged 16 years and 309 days. Hoever was exactly 296 days old.

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