Neil Mellor has backed former Arsenal trainee Ovie Ejaria to go far as he goes about resurrecting his career at Liverpool. The England U20 international was released by the Gunners after which he joined the Reds academy in 2014.
The 18-year-old has impressed this season after initial struggle with the Liverpool U18's in previous seasons. He made his first-team debut under Jurgen Klopp and now trains regularly with the first-team after he impressed during their pre-season tour in the United States. Mellor, who has been watching the player this campaign, is confident that he can make the step up to the senior side on a more regular basis.
"I watch a lot of the Liverpool under-age sides and his development in the last 12 months has been amazing. A year ago he would probably admit that he wasn't finding it easy in the U18s. Now he's training with the first team after a fantastic pre-season where he stood out in games," Mellor said as quoted by the Express.
"He was imposing himself and doing very well. Technically gifted, he's comfortable on the ball and has a good engine. Obviously he still has a long way to go, but it's great to see him on the right track and that the hard work of the Academy staff is paying off," the former Reds forward explained.
Ejaria spent nine years at Arsenal between 2005 and 2014 before he was released, and the former Liverpool forward has commended the young midfielder's mental resolve for picking himself up after the disappointment of being let go by the Gunners. He has since resurrected his career and is now being tipped to break into the first-team at Anfield.
"For a young boy to move from London to Liverpool and adjust to a new way of life can't have been easy. It's the type of challenge players typically have to go through. At those times the question is: how badly do you want to be a professional?
"Ovie has shown how much by leaving an environment where he was comfortable and coming to the north west to try to fulfil his potential.
"He didn't sulk or spit his dummy out when Arsenal let him go. Instead he got on with it and now he's reaping the rewards. If he continues to show the same approach, work hard and avoid the inevitable distractions that come along, he can go far," he added.