WITH the recent turmoil and talk of takeovers, it is fair to assume that Liverpool FC could do with a safe pair of hands at the moment, writes DREW MORRIS.
In one local lad, they may well have found them.
Dutton goalkeeper John Williams has just signed a one-year contract to train under the stewardship of Liverpool legend Steve Heighway at the Reds' academy in Kirkby.
The eight-year-old, who attends Whitley County Primary School, plays for Whitley Cubs and Alsager Town - as well as spending every spare minute practising in the garden with his brother, Luke, 10.
John was spotted after attending a mini-soccer camp at the academy last year.
After an impressive performance, he was invited to attend a Liverpool satellite centre in Great Sankey, Warrington, for regular training.
He caught the eyes of the coaches there, who have rewarded his potential with a chance to train at the facility, which produced the likes of Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher Steven Gerrard.
Academy coach and Runcorn FC legend Barry Whitbread thinks John has tremendous potential to succeed if he continues to show the dedication he has displayed over the past year.
He said: 'He's a lovely lad with terrific enthusiasm and energy. It is now up to him to show the staff here that he is prepared to work hard to become a footballer.
'He is still very young, though, and at this stage the most important thing is for him to enjoy his football and to learn from the experience.'
Liverpool's academy instructs about 200 young players in total. The two academy teams are the primary paths through to the reserves and the first team.
John's schedule will be demanding.
He will attend the Kirkby centre four nights a week. Two of these nights will be for goalkeeping training while two nights will concentrate on squad training.
In addition, John will play every Sunday against teams from around the country, facing the Premiership stars of the future.
All this means more driving for John's father, Stephen - although this should not prove to be too much of an inconvenience.
'Fortunately, I'm a taxi driver by trade,' he said. 'So the extra miles will not be a problem!'
Being a passionate Liverpool fan helps ease the burden, of course, and Stephen harbours dreams of his son being a part of new Red revolution.
He says: 'There are only a couple of local lads in the team at present and I think the time will come where the club looks to build around more British players.
'John is a Liverpool fan and he wants to stay at the academy as long as he can. His sights are set on playing for England one day.'
Stephen's dedication is such that he even made a dramatic change to a golfing holiday to fly back from Majorca for his son's Anfield debut on Tuesday.
John's ambitions have been helped along by a grant for £300 from Halton Borough Council to pay for kit and equipment.
Council sports development officer Jane Rhodes said: 'It's great to see another one of Halton's young athletes succeeding.'