Liverpool U21 coach Lewtas explains Euro factor in Cannonier development

Liverpool U21 coach Barry Lewtas says they’re stepping up Oakley Cannonier’s progress this season.

The striker, 18, struck a memorable hat-trick in midweek as the Reds’ under-19 side continued an impressive start to their UEFA Youth League campaign with a 4-0 triumph over Ajax at Kirkby.

The 18-year-old had notched the winner in the 2-1 victory at Napoli the previous week, with his strike in last season’s round of 16 tie against Genk meaning he has now scored five times in his last four games in the competition.

With Europe having been identified as an arena where Cannonier can gain valuable experience and minutes, his continued impact has been particularly instructive.

“That extra step up is a step up but he’s finding his way and it’s really nice,” Lewtas, who is taking charge of Liverpool’s UEFA Youth League team this season, told the Liverpool Echo. “I felt like last season when we played Jarell Quansah and Billy Koumetio together at centre-back in the 19s, it showcased their talents. It’s Oakley’s turn this year.

“Sometimes when you move up it can be difficult and it’s the same for Oakley. He trains very well, we’ve known he’s going to play these games and he took his goals really well. We’re really pleased with him.”