There鈥檚 an anecdote told at Liverpool鈥檚 Academy up in Kirkby which offers a pretty strong insight into the character of one of its most promising graduates.

Ben Woodburn鈥檚 name was still unknown. He was still training with the Reds鈥?U15s, turning up for sessions in his Rainhill High School uniform and having the kinks ironed out of his game.

The talent was there, though. So too, the competitive streak.

Kirkby staff recall a 9v9 game on the Academy鈥檚 indoor pitch, in which Woodburn lost his temper over a throw-in decision that didn't go his way.

The coach who gave it had been momentarily distracted in conversation with a colleague, Woodburn was not happy.

Liverpool's Ben Woodburn during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool

鈥淚f we鈥檙e going to do something, can we at least do it properly??was the gist of his argument. His ire was strong enough that he threatened to walk off the pitch.

Petulant? Perhaps, though for the coaches concerned ?and those who have encountered him subsequently ?this was more an example of the fire which burns within a supremely gifted young footballer, an example of the standards he sets and the standards he demands. If there are doubts about Woodburn, they have nothing to do with his mentality.

It鈥檚 been some season for the 17-year-old. Some week, too. From making his first Premier League start for Liverpool at Stoke, to being taken off at half time to finding his name on a European 鈥楪olden Boy鈥?shortlist that includes the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe and Christian Pulisic, he鈥檚 had the full range of emotions.

Woodburn, if we鈥檙e being fair, has no chance of winning that Tuttosport award. Not when he鈥檚 started one Premier League game. Not when other contenders include Marcus Rashford, Gabriel Jesus, Tom Davies, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Renato Sanches and Kasper Dolberg.

Ben Woodburn during the FA Cup match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

But the fact that he鈥檚 even on the list is evidence of his impressive rise. He鈥檚 got a senior goal to his name, a fanclub which is growing by the week and an immensely bright future ahead of him.

Stoke can be considered a setback. Woodburn, along with fellow teenage talent Trent Alexander-Arnold, was withdrawn at half time at the Bet365 Stadium with Liverpool a goal down and playing poorly.

But both Jurgen Klopp, the manager, and James Milner, the captain, have been quick to defend the young duo. They were sacrificed in search of a result ?which Liverpool got ?but the failings of the team were as much down to the senior players as anyone.

In any case, the old adage is that you learn more from your struggles than you do your successes. And those that have worked with both Woodburn and Alexander-Arnold ?Klopp included ?speak of rock-solid attitudes and relentless focus.

It鈥檒l take more than a substitution ?or an erroneous throw-in call in a training match ?to derail these two...