Six weeks ago Ben Woodburn was training with Liverpool FC under-16s, arriving for sessions in his school uniform as he completed his GCSEs.
Now, the Tattenhall teenager is making waves. He’s made his first appearance for Liverpool’s first team, scored his first goal and caught everyone’s eye in the process with Jurgen Klopp admitting they are "singing big songs" about the 16-year-old at both Melwood and Kirkby.
For Des Maher, head U16s coach at Liverpool's academy, the Welsh youth international’s ascent is particularly pleasing - not to mention inspirational for the ‘next next generation’ of young Reds.
Writing in his column for the official Liverpool website, Maher said: “Six weeks ago Ben was training with my U16 group and here he is playing for the first team in pre-season.
“It just goes to show the club believes in the younger talent and if you are good enough you will get an opportunity no matter how young you are.
“It is a fantastic boost to our U16 group. Myself and U15 coach Barry Lewtas were saying to our new group this week what Ben is doing now could be you in a year’s time.
"You have to aim high, this is Liverpool Football Club, and in Jurgen Klopp we have a manager who gives young players an opportunity.
“These young players know they have a lot of hard work to do and you get your rewards if you give your maximum in every session and don’t let your standards drop.”
Chester-born Woodburn, who attended Bishop Heber High School before later switching to Rainhill High School, arrived at Liverpool’s academy at the age of eight, and has worked under Maher for the past two years.
He made his debut for Neil Critchley’s U18s last autumn aged 15, and his rise is showing no sign of slowing. His goal against Fleetwood Town for the senior side last Wednesday may have been a tap-in, but his all-round performance was eye-catching to say the least.
“I know how much that meant to him,” Maher said.
“And I can also tell you he is one of the most level-headed young men you could ever meet. He knows how much he has to learn but nothing fazes him and with an attitude like he has he could go far in the game.
“He is a quiet boy who just gets on with his job and he is really well focused. In all honesty he is a boy who is always a pleasure to have in the training session.
“He made his U18s debut last season at the age of 15 and did extremely well as everybody knows, but when he drops back down to the U16s because of his education programme you would never ever know he had been playing at a higher level. He is a credit to himself and his family.
“He did so well last season and our U18s coach Neil Critchley couldn’t keep him out of the team. He scored lots of goals and provided numerous assists. Ben took his opportunity and held his place in the team for the rest of the season.
“Away from the pitch, the staff at Rainhill school also deserve a lot of credit because he has done fantastically well with his education and he achieved a lot of his grades in the year prior to him finishing school. This meant we had more access to him on the training field during the daytime, and under the guidance of our first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders he has come on in leaps and bounds.”