Say what you like about Steven Gerrard, but he knows a player when he sees one.
It was in 2016, when writing his second autobiography, that the Liverpool legend chose to single out two young players coming through the Reds’ Academy. “These boys,” he wrote, “really caught my eye.”
One of them, Trent Alexander-Arnold, has since established himself as a first-team regular at Anfield. He’s a Liverpool starter, a full England international. He’s played in a World Cup and a Champions League final. Yep, Gerrard got that one right.
Not every journey is the same, though, and while Alexander-Arnold has done his growing up at the highest level, the other player picked out by Gerrard four years ago is coming of age in a different manner, at a different level.
Herbie Kane will line up for Doncaster Rovers today, as Crystal Palace visit the Keepmoat Stadium for
It’s a big deal for
As loan spells go, this has been close to perfect. Kane, who turned 20 in November, has made 36 appearances in all competitions, chipping in with seven goals from central midfield. He signed a new, improved contract at Liverpool in December, and his progress is being closely monitored by Jurgen Klopp and his staff.
“Yeah, it has been [perfect],” Kane tells Goal in an exclusive chat ahead of today’s game. “When I first came, the aim was to get in the team and play as many games as I could.
“And I always want to contribute with goals and assists, so I’m glad I’m able to do that. The manager [Grant McCann] has trusted me to play pretty much every game, so I couldn’t really ask for more. It’s a tough league and he has lots of experience. And with him being a former midfielder, it helps me a lot.”
Kane was born and raised in
“I played more as a sitting midfielder,” he points out. “But I’ve always been more of a box-to-box midfielder. I’ve always been a midfielder who looks to get goals.”
He’s certainly got goals this season – seven of them, in fact. Not bad for
“I don’t set targets,” he smiles, adding: “But I’ve got the number 15 in my head now. Why not, eh?
“The good thing is I can feel the improvement. The area I knew I’d need to improve was the competitive side, things like second balls and battling in the midfield.
“It definitely helps that I’m coming up against different styles every week. Some teams play football and challenge you that way, others go a bit longer and you have to adjust and deal with that. It’s good for my development as a
Kane has already had a taste of what first-team football at Liverpool would entail, having been invited regularly to train with Klopp’s senior squad last season.
“It’s so competitive, but it’s great just to be involved in those sessions and to see these players and how they work.”
The hope, of course, is that such opportunities will arise again in the future. Doncaster
After that, Kane is clear on his ambitions.
“I don’t make any secret,” he says. “I want to catch the Liverpool manager’s eye.
“I want to leave a footprint with this loan spell and give him something to think about come the summer. I want to be in his
“Every journey is different. It may be that I need to get 50 or 100 league games under my belt first and then we see from there, or things may change. You never know in football.
“There are some people who get the opportunity and take it, and that’s great. Trent has done that and that’s a big inspiration for everyone. But for others it’s about going out, playing games, experiencing league football and seeing how you develop there. That was the point of this loan spell, and I’m happy with how it’s gone so far.
“Palace will be a huge challenge but we’re confident, and for