7 wonderkids vanish as Liverpool’s youngest ever scorer begins trial at Preston


It wasn’t that long ago that Ben Woodburn was Liverpool’s next big thing.

After scoring against Leeds as a 17 year-old, the midfielder became club’s youngest ever goalcorer in 2016. Jurgen Klopp apparently was so impressed by him that he began to gradually integrate him into the senior side.

However, six years and four subpar loan spells later, the Welshman was freed without fanfare. His stock was so low that Preston North End was hesitant to sign him a contract, without first allowing him to test it.

Keep Woodburn’s downfall as a focus Silver Screen Beats SportWe take a look at seven other wonderkids who mysteriously disappeared from the face of the Earth.

READ MORE: Liverpool’s forgotten star Jurgen Klipp was raving about the departures

Freddy Adu

Freddy Adu trained with Manchester United in 2006 - and that's about as good as it got for the prodigious American
Freddy Adu was a Manchester United trainee in 2006. That’s as good as it got, for the prodigious American.

Freddy Adu was America’s answer to Lionel Messi.

Dubbed “the next Pele”Adu, who made his professional debut at 14 years of age, was eager to be a part of the international scene. There were clubs all over Europe following his progress.

Although he tried out Manchester United in 2006, work permit issues prevented him moving. He was forced to wait another one year before Benfica called to offer him his chance at the big league. His spell in Portugal proved to be a disaster for the Ghanaian-born attacker.

After being featured only 11 times, he was sent out on loan. He spent the next four year nomadically traveling around Europe as a student in gap years. Adu, now 33 years old, is no longer under contract and has lost his club.

Josh McEachran

Josh McEachran was Chelsea's next big thing in 2010. So just where did he go?
The next big thing for Chelsea in 2010 was Josh McEachran. He went where?

Josh McEachran, a 17-year old who made his debut for Chelsea in 2010, looked like a world-beater.

After displaying poise and passing abilities beyond his years, he immediately raised Carlo Ancelotti’s eyebrows and was quickly thrust into the first team picture. After the season ended, Ancelotti was fired and his Chelsea career began to unravel.

Andre Villas Boas was the Italian’s replacement. He played McEachran just twice in the league, before allowing him to go on loan to Swansea. But he didn’t get a chance in there either.

McEachran lost his momentum and confidence shot and was soon released by the London club after four uninspired loan spells. The 29-year old now plays for MKDons in League One after he had spells with Birmingham City, Brentford and Birmingham City.

Jack Rodwell

Everton fans were gutted when Manchester City pinched Jack Rodwell from them - but they needn't have been
Everton supporters were devastated when Manchester City resigned Jack Rodwell from their club – but it didn’t have to be.

Jack Rodwell managed to escape the world despite a highly publicized move to Manchester City.

Wayne Rooney was the ideal midfielder. But his Toffees career didn’t get out of third gear.

In 2012, Rodwell moved to City. He was given very little game time during two miserable seasons. Then, he jumped ship to Sunderland. Rodwell fell into insignificance after the Black Cats lost the Championship. He struggled for minutes. The former England international moved to Blackburn, Sheffield United and now he is a Western Sydney Warriors player.

Giovani dos Santos

Giovanni Dos Santos made next to no impression in English football
Dos Santos made next to no impression in English football

The future of Barcelona was once in the hands of two teenage geniuses, Lionel Messi & Giovani Dos Santos. *Spoiler alert – only one of them made of them made it to the top – we’ll tell you who later.*

So after nabbing Dos Santos for just £5 million in 2008, Tottenham fans thought they’d hit the jackpot – but it didn’t take long for them to realise why the Catalan giants were happy to let him leave.

While the Mexican forward was adept at many tricks, he wasn’t able to translate his natural abilities into actual on-field performance. Before being released in 2012 by Spurs, he was first loaned to Ipswich Town then to Galatasaray, and finally to Racing Santander. He had not scored a single goal for the club.

After three seasons with La Liga, he was followed by a solid four-year stint at LA Galaxy. Now, the 33-year old is a Mexican club America player (because that’s It is not confusing at all

* P.S – it was Messi.

Adnan Januzaj

Adnan Januzaj's Man United career tailed off after just a single promising season
Man United’s career of Adnan Januzaj ended after one promising season

Adnan Januzaj was the only bright spot in a dark season for Manchester United during David Moyes’ nine-month tenure as manager.

The campaign saw the young Belgian star 35 times in all competitions. Ryan Giggs gave him his old No 11 shirt at the end. McEachran’s career was ruined after a management change.

Louis van Gaal didn’t like Januzaj and Januzaj soon found himself struggling for form and game-time. He was loaned to Dortmund in the following season but did not impress. Then he was sent to Sunderland, where he was unsuccessful.

Januzaj, who had a bad reputation, was released in 2017. However, after five solid seasons at Real Sociedad, Januzaj has started to make a name for himself and is now able to get back into the Belgian national team setup. Go Adnan

Ravel Morrison

Boy, was Ravel Morrison talented!
Ravel Morrison was an amazing talent!

United fans will be able to recall that Ravel Morrison was the club’s most exciting prospect back 2010 and not Paul Pogba.

Sir Alex Ferguson described the 17-year-old boy as “the best player he’d seen at that age,”However, he began to have problems in his personal life that started to ruin his relationship with the club. He left for West Ham in 2012

Morrison failed to keep his feet on the ground and he sailed through a trio of loan spells at the Championship before being unceremoniously dismissed by the Hammers in 2015. Lazio, Serie A’s side, took a gamble on Morrison but he was soon on the move again – this one to Sweden with Ostersund.

Later, he tried his luck with Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, and ADO Den Haag, before finally finding himself at Derby County under Wayne Rooney’s tutelage, where he seems to be playing with some consistency. How long will this continue with Rooney gone?

Alexandre Pato

Injuries prevented Alexandre Pato from becoming the superstar he always promised to be
Alexandre Pato was not the star he promised to be because of injuries.

Alexandre Pato, a youngster with AC Milan, was once the envy Europe.

After taking Serie A by storm, he was the latest fine piece of Brazilian craftsmanship. His explosive pace and keen eye for goal made him the most sought-after player in the Serie. He won the prestigious Golden Boy award, and it felt almost inevitable that he would become a global superstar. Then came the injuries.

Pato, who was just 23, decided to leave Milan’s treatment area after two seasons. After a brief loan stint at Chelsea, Pato returned to European football a few years later. He only played two games for the club in London before being shipped back to Brazil.

Pato was defeated by his chance of redemption. He decided to cut his losses and head for the Chinese Super League. There, he scored an impressive 36 goals in just 60 matches. After a brief stint in Brazil, Pato returned to Orlando City for the MLS.