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Liverpool midfielder Kevin Stewart has received a timely boost in his recovery from injury, agreeing a new contract extension at Anfield. The versatile 22-year-old, who joined on a free transfer in 2014 after former club Tottenham Hotspur declined to offer him a professional deal, has broken into the first-team set-up under Jurgen Klopp in recent months and made his debut as part of the youthful side that battled to a draw at Exeter in January.
He also started the replay on Merseyside and was retained for subsequent FA Cup fourth-round clashes against West Ham United. The former Crewe, Cheltenham and Burton loanee was handed his maiden Premier League outing as a 66th-minute replacement for Philippe Coutinho during the 6-0 trouncing of rock-bottom Aston Villa on Valentine's Day.
Announcing the new deal via their official website, a Liverpool statement read: "Liverpool FC can confirm Kevin Stewart has today put pen to paper on a new contract with the club. The 22-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with the Reds, making his first-team debut in the FA Cup third round in January before earning a Barclays Premier League bow against Aston Villa earlier this month."
Stewart's 2015/16 campaign did not get off to a promising start, with him suffered a serious knee problem just seven matches into a season-long loan spell with League One Swindon Town. That injury forced the player to return to his parent club early and his progress has now been further delayed by ankle ligament damage sustained while awkwardly blocking a teammate's shot during a training session last week.
After signing his new contract, which is believed to run until 2020, he said: "It gives me more confidence, it shows [the club] believes in me and believe that I could go on to become a good player for them. It has just given me confidence in myself and the security [I have] time to prove myself and get better with good coaches and good players.
"It's been exciting, there have been a lot of disappointments, but all-in-all it's been great. I've really enjoyed the battle and the challenges that have come from changing positions, learning a new position, and doing it with Michael Beale, Alex Inglethorpe and all the coaches. I've found it really exciting."