Harry Wilson: Why the Time Is Right for Derbys On-Loan Star to Break Into Liverpool First Team

​When players go out on loan in the lower leagues, it can often be difficult to tell how their form will translate to their first team chances at their parent club. Some youngsters star as a big fish in a small pond, and score a phenomenal amount of goals, but for whatever reason, just fall a yard or two short of making the cut in the top flight. 

Sometimes you get the opposite; players who don't set the world alight in a spell away from home, but then return with a vengeance. You only have to look at Harry Kane for that one. 

Football isn't a science, and it's rarely easy to tell how things will transfer across different levels, or even across different clubs in the same division. Now and again, however, you get a player you can tell, for all the world, will succeed at the height of the game. 

When ​Derby County's Harry Wilson showed up to see off Leeds in the ​second leg of the Championship playoff semi-final, he cemented his status as one of those players. 

Harry Wilson

Heading into half-time, Derby looked down and out of the tie, trailing by two goals on aggregate. A Jack Marriott strike just before the break gave them some hope, but it was Wilson who would then step up and fire his side towards the Premier League.

Taking the ball around 25 yards out, he controlled it in a tight space, and nonchalantly slotted the ball into Mason Mount, who drew his side level. Then, just 12 minutes later, when Derby won a penalty that would give them the lead, it was Wilson - their runaway top scorer - who was entrusted with the responsibility. With all the composure of a seasoned veteran playing five-a-sides with nothing to prove, he slotted it home and fired his side into the final. 

It was a magnificent individual performance, but it was no one-off. He's been coming up trumps for Frank Lampard's side all season, and has shown exactly why Jurgen Klopp does not need to dip into the transfer market for a new forward this summer.

His goal record, first and foremost, speaks for itself. Over his two loan spells in the Championship, the Welshman has netted 25 goals in 62 appearances, and only seems to be getting better with time. He had a ten-game spell in which he couldn't find the net for love nor money throughout February and March - not dissimilar to Mohamed Salah - but just like the Egyptian, was able to recover his best form when it mattered.

With 18 goals in all competitions, then, he has established himself as too good for the Championship.

Of course, there is more to playing for one of Klopp's teams than simply chipping in with goals. The German wants players who will work just as hard off the ball as on it, and you don't have to look very far to see that Wilson is prepared to put a shift in. 

He covers a tremendous amount of ground, and for Derby, has averaged 1.3 successful tackles per game (​WhoScored). That doesn't sound like much, but when you put it into context - that it's more than any of ​Liverpool's current front three, with Roberto Firmino the best of the lot at 1.0 - it paints a pretty clear picture.

If you still need convincing that he is prepared to make the step up from the Championship, then you only have to look at his statistics compared to James Maddison, who signed for Leicester off the back of an impressive season with Norwich in the second tier. 

They play in different positions, granted, but Maddison - y'know, Maddison who Liverpool fans are now kicking themselves for not signing - managed 26 goal contributions across all competitions. Wilson, so far, has 24, with the playoff final still to play and various set-pieces still to take. It's clear that he will step up to the Premier League next season, be it in another spell with Derby, parent club Liverpool, or elsewhere.

At 22, he is the right age, and with 18 months of first team football under his belt, he has an adequate amount of experience to return to Anfield and fight for a spot in the team. It won't be easy, and he will likely have to claw for every minute of action he gets, with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi (​if he signs a new deal) and the emerging Rhian Brewster all fighting to try and displace one of that coveted front three next season.

But if Jurgen Klopp wants a hungry player who will settle for a place further down the pecking order and add some match-winning quality in depth to his front line, then there is no better option available at present than Wilson. 


Source : 90min

Source: 90min