Tom Clayton has hailed Andrew Robertson as a Liverpool standard bearer as the Anfield kid endeavours to follow in the footsteps of Scotland’s skipper.
Clayton, 20, has been named in Scot Gemmill’s under-21 side for the upcoming Euro 2023 qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belgium at Tannadice.
The versatile youngster is a regular for Liverpool’s under-23 side and has already trained with Jurgen Klopp’s senior side.
And he was left in awe of Robertson’s tireless work ethic and drive to be the best.
“I look up to Andy [Robertson],” said Clayton, who can operate in defence or midfield.
“He really highly regarded at Liverpool — part of the leadership group — and I watch him, learn and see what I can put into my game.
“He drives the sessions and the intensity, then his quality shines through. His attitude and application every day is an example.
“But he is vocal too. He is not afraid to speak out, encourage you and tell you if you have done something wrong.
“There is definitely a step up from the under-23s to first-team and he will always encourage and help you.”
Along with ex-Dundee United left-back Robertson, another former SPFL ace stands out in a star-studded Liverpool dressing room.
“Virgil [van Dijk] is like a coach on the pitch during the session,” he continued. “Those are guys you can look to and say: ‘I’ll take a lot from that’.
“You just need to watch them for five minutes and you’ll learn so much about how they train and apply themselves.”
Clayton was afforded his big break in the Liverpool youth ranks when Steven Gerrard was under-18s boss, prior to bringing the Scottish Premiership title to Rangers.
And he has hailed the ‘special aura’ of the Anfield icon.
“I was a first year scholar when I found out Steven [Gerrard] was going to be our manager,” recalled Clayton.
“He brought a real buzz to the place and had a lot of belief in me.
“On tour, you would see the attention he gets and think ‘wow, this guy is special’.
“He has that special aura around the place. When he speaks, you listen.”
On the prospect of Gerrard one day managing Liverpool, Clayton added: “I can see that happening.
“He has done a great job at Rangers and, if you asked a lot of Liverpool fans, I’m sure they’d want him as the manager in future.
“But I think they are pretty happy with Jurgen [Klopp] at the minute!”
Gilmour and Patterson
Clayton hopes to win his second under-21 cap when Kazakhstan visit the City of Discovery on Friday evening.
And he reckons the progress of Chelsea wonder-kid Billy Gilmour and Rangers’ Nathan Patterson prove there is a pathway to senior recognition.
He added: “Billy and Nathan have been with us previously before progressing. So, it’s not about being ‘inspired’ — we can see that there is a pathway for us.”