Ben Woodburn open to longer stay at Blackpool on loan from Liverpool

Liverpool and Wales star Ben Woodburn says he’s open to extending his loan spell with Blackpool beyond January.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 8:00 am
Ben Woodburn on the ball against Blackpool while on loan at Oxford last season

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The 21-year-old was a deadline-day arrival last week, joining from the Premier League champions until January 17.

The forward is highly-rated on Merseyside, but after suffering two foot injuries while on loan with Oxford United last season he needs regular game time.

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Woodburn said: “Liverpool have just told me to go out on loan, express myself and see how I do. When I go back, we’ll go from there.

“As an international it’s vital I play. (Wales boss) Ryan Giggs likes players who are playing week in, week out. If I can do that at Blackpool, it will help me on the international side.

“The move to Blackpool happened pretty fast, so Liverpool haven’t said too much about what might happen when my loan ends. We haven’t had the discussion yet.

“I’d definitely be open to staying longer, though. I’ve enjoyed my first couple of days so I don’t see why not, especially if we’re doing well – then I’d love to stay.”

Woodburn, who has 10 full Wales caps, is reuniting with his former Liverpool Under-23s coach Neil Critchley. The versatile forward has made 11 first-team appearances for the Reds and became their youngest ever scorer in November 2016, breaking Michael Owen’s longstanding record with a goal against Leeds United.

Woodburn also scored on his Wales debut in a 1-0 win against Austria in 2017, becoming their second- youngest scorer behind Gareth Bale. He has gained further experience on loan with Sheffield United and Oxford, lining up for the latter against Blackpool last season.

Woodburn can play in midfield or across the front three and admits he’s happy to play wherever Critchley decides.

“When I was a bit younger the gaffer played me on the left side, but gradually as I got older I was more of a left-sided midfielder,” he said. “I can play either, so it’s up to the manager.”

Despite those injuries, Woodburn managed 16 Oxford appearances last season, scoring once and helping Karl Robinson’s side to clinch a League One play-off spot.

He added: “I enjoyed my time there and I felt we had a good season. Hopefully we can do the same with Blackpool. Everyone can beat everyone in this league.

It’s a good league and it’s exciting. I’m just happy to be back.

“Everyone is desperate to go on a run. The performances we’ve had have been promising – it’s just unfortunate the results haven’t matched them.

“But we’re playing well and we’re getting to grips with it. I just think once we get one win we will get many. It’s only a matter of time in my eyes.”