I was the shyest in my age group…Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah recalls his time at the academy

I was the shyest in my age group...Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah recalls his time at the academy Career

Born in Warrington in January 2003, Jarell Quansah joined Liverpool’s academy at the age of just five. Since then, he has continued to progress through the ranks, and this season he has grabbed a long-awaited first-team spot.

Until last season, he was a loan player in the EFL Ligue 1, but this preseason he has quickly emerged as a regular contender. He has been a consistent performer in the Europa League and cup competitions, and is now the second choice center back behind Virgil Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate.

The modern defender, who is blessed with a 1.90 cm physique and excellent foot skills, recounts the events that led him to join the lower divisions.

After training at Manchester City, United, and other nearby clubs, he recalled his past memories of Liverpool, saying that he enjoyed playing soccer at Liverpool the most.

“I was centre midfield and I scored six goals in this game with the scout John Alcock watching on,”

“I got invited to sessions at the club’s development centre in Warrington for a few months and then when I turned five I came to the academy a couple of times a week. Being a professional footballer was all I ever wanted to be.”

“I went around different places to see what was out there: I did City, (Manchester) United, Wigan, Bolton… all of them,”

“Back then, I was just playing and enjoying what I was doing. Any time I could play football, I was happy. My parents thought having more options would be better.”

“I just remember Liverpool offering the best training. That was where I enjoyed my football the most and that’s why I stayed.”

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Originally playing as a midfielder, the 21-year-old youngster is now only seen as a center back.

Looking back on the timing of his position change, he revealed that he was instructed to do so by his coach at the U-9 tournament in Nantes, France.

“We were struggling in this semi-final and the coach was like, ‘Jarell, drop deeper and help us build from the back’. I didn’t blink. I was always good on the ball and I could dribble,”

“From that day onwards, I’ve not really played anywhere else — apart from a bit at right-back.”

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In the first team, he plays on the final line with Dutch national team defender Virgil van Dijk, who has been named captain this season. He has experienced up close the mentality of the veteran defender who also wears the captain’s mark for the national team.

In terms of leadership, he has been captain of his own team in many games in the U-18s. However, he revealed that he was shy and quiet, and people around him pointed out that he needed to be more vocal on the pitch.

“I was probably the shyest in my age group, so leadership didn’t come naturally,”

“I never really spoke! I was just chilled. The coaches were always telling me that I needed to speak more on the pitch. I had to force it a bit — be more vocal when I was given the armband in the under-16s and under-18s. I just tried to lead by example on the pitch and help people as much as I could off it.”

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