By Scott Taylor
After making his debut for the first team on Tuesday night in the penalty shoot-out win over Middlesbrough, many were surprised with the inclusion of Jordan Rossiter. The majority of those people did not know anything about this latest prodigy to come through the ranks at Anfield, so who exactly is Jordan Rossiter?
Rossiter is a 17-year-old midfielder who joined Liverpool at Under 6 level. He is always been highly rated from a very young age and was dubbed the next Steven Gerrard. Despite being a boyhood Everton fan, Rossiter played at every single age group in Liverpool’s Academy. He become more recognised within the Kirkby Academy when he made his debut for the Under 18s on his 15th birthday, when he came on as a substitute in the Reds’ 4-3 defeat to West Brom in April 2012.
The tough-tackling midfielder made his European debut for the Reds in the NextGen series still aged 15, when he again came on as a substitute in Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over Inter Milan. From then on, Rossiter secured his place in both the Under 18 and Under 19 setups, even though he was playing against opposition who were three or four years older than him.
The Liverpudlian was a key player in the 2012-13 season for the Under 18s, helping Steve Cooper’s side reach the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup where they were defeated by Chelsea over two legs. He did however feature in more FA Youth Cup games than League games, but still put in very good performances whenever he did play. Another milestone was reached by Rossiter in that season when he was given the captaincy in Jordan Lussey’s absence aged 16.
After an impressive spell in the Under 18s side, Rossiter was rewarded with his Under 21s debut late in the 2012/13 season under Alex Inglethorpe, and the midfielder certainly didn’t look out of his depth.
In the 2013/14 season, Rossiter’s Under 18s playing days were all but over, expect for FA Youth Cup games, even though he would still have been eligible to play for new manager Neil Critchley for a further two years. That just showed how highly Rossiter was continued to be rated, when he was playing with opposition who were up to five years older than him. Despite this, Rossiter was often the most impressive player on the pitch, along with 21-year-old Joao Carlos Teixeira. This was due to his composure, maturity and his passion for football. A moment where Rossiter really made a name for himself was in a game against Manchester City Under 21s last season, where he said a few words to City manager Patrick Vieira, showing that even with his tender age, he is not afraid to tell people over than him how he feels. This was many of the reasons why Rossiter has captained the Under 21s on a couple of occasions. After just a few months with the Under 21s, Rossiter was rewarded with places on the first team bench for games with Chelsea and Hull for the Christmas period of 2013. He is undoubtedly one of Academy’s biggest prospects and was awarded with the Liverpool Academy Player of the Season.
Rossiter was part of Liverpool’s pre-season setup for the start of the 2014/15 season, playing in the games against IF Brondby and Preston North End. His remarkable journey has now only just begun, when he made his debut for the first team in Tuesday’s penalty shoot-out win against Middlesbrough. Rossiter indeed started the game and it only took the ‘scouser’ 10 minutes to score his first goal for the club when his long-range strike went through the legs of ‘Boro goalkeeper Jamal Blackman. The only negative of the fairytale debut was that his goal was not at the Kop end.