Who is Ovie Ejaria? All you need to know about the Liverpool youngster set for Rangers move
Steven Gerrard's Rangers have been linked with almost every upcoming prospect on Liverpool's books and it's only just turned June.
But it finally seems like one of those links will bear some fruit, with midfielder Ovie Ejaria said to be on his way to Ibrox on a loan deal. The move could even be finalised this week.
So what do we know about Ovie Ejaria?
Full name: Oviemuno Dominic Ejaria
Club history: Ejaria began his football career with boyhood club Arsenal's academy, which he joined aged seven. He was deemed not good enough by the Gunners and made the move north to Liverpool in 2014. He has long been tipped for big things by the Reds' fanbase and made his first team debut back in September 2016, coming on as a 77th minute substitute in a 3-0 League Cup victory over Derby County. Ejaria went on to make eight appearances (including five starts) that season but was shipped out on loan in January, joining recently relegated Sunderland in the Championship. He made 11 appearances for the Weirside club and scored once against Wolves.
International experience: Ejaria has Nigerian parents and has trained with the country's U17s. However, he was rewarded for his purple patch of first-team opportunities at Anfield with an inclusion in the England squad for the U20 World Cup last summer and accepted the call. He played three matches as England won the tournament.
What's he like as a player? Some have dubbed the midfielder 'the English Pogba', although it's hard to track that nickname further than a few social media comments. His athletic performances in midfield and ability to use his long legs for tackling, passing and driving forward are evidence of the comparisons. Here is a short summary of his talents:
That's good, but show us the goals: Well here's a short, soundless clip of a smasher for Liverpool U23s against Derby earlier this year. Footwork, movement, finish - it's got everything.
What's been said about him? The reaction of those who've worked with him is overwhelmingly positive. Goalkeeper Lee Camp, who also spent the second half of last season on loan at Sunderland, has been singing his praises.
“Technically he is brilliant, he’s composed and gifted on the ball, and moves it well," Camp said in the Sun. “He gets forward, he can score a goal and works hard. You can see that Liverpool, top-level mentality in him. He presses really well, he likes to do the hustling and bustling that you saw from Jurgen Klopp’s team in the Champions League. Ovie is a big lad and he gets around the pitch. He uses his frame well and he’s a great athlete."
Meanwhile, Liverpool U23 coach Neil Critchley reckons Gers fans could be in for some excitement.
"Ovie has these real ‘wow’ moments which just make you smile because it’s brilliant to watch," Critchley said in the same article. “When he is faced with a defender, one on one in the penalty area, you sort of feel sorry for the defender because you know there is only going to be one outcome.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital