EPL 2016/17: Liverpool starlet Ejaria was shocked when he was let go by Arsenal
Promising Liverpool playmaker Oviemuno Dominic ‘Ovie’ Ejaria was only 16 when his fledgling football career, by his own admission, took a huge jolt. A product of Arsenal’s youth system since he was 7 years of age, Ejaria was suddenly released by the Gunners and told he was not good enough to play for the club. “It was tough, and it came as a bit of a shock, to be honest,” Ejaria told the Liverpool Echo.
However, Arsenal’s loss was Liverpool’s gain, as the Reds swooped in for his signature almost immediately after he was released. For a club that prides itself in spotting and nurturing young talent, Ejaria’s ouster already seems like a mistake by Arsenal, if his performance on his full debut for Liverpool against Tottenham in the EFL Cup is anything to go by.
After two years of playing well for the Liverpool youth teams and representing England at the U20 level, it is safe to say that Ejaria has found a new home in Merseyside.
Speaking about the offers he had after Arsenal let go of him, Ejaria said, “I was fortunate enough to have offers from a number of clubs at different levels, some others in the London area and some up north too. I chose Liverpool and I’m pleased that I did.”
Liverpool’s U23 coach Michael Beale, too, is pleased. Having known the youngster since his days at Arsenal, Beale was instrumental in securing his signature and has since overseen his rapid development.
Ejaria does not turn 19 until November but has already featured twice for Liverpool’s first team. His debut appearance was as a substitute against Derby County in the EFL Cup in September and he shone brightly in his first start against Eric Dier and co. when Liverpool locked horns with Tottenham in the round of 16 of the EFL Cup at Anfield.
Ejaria’s assuredness and composure on the ball was refreshing as he regularly fed the ball into the feet of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi ahead of him.
Speaking in the official match program ahead of the game against Tottenham, Ejaria described himself as an attack-minded midfielder “a No. 8 or a No. 10.” However, he can also play on the left and cut inside whenever required. Part of a batch of youngsters that also includes other talented players such as Marko Grujic, Kevin Stewart, and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the future looks bright for Liverpool.
Speaking about the club, Ejaria said, “I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Liverpool so far and I hope I will have many more good times with the club in the future.” The Liverpool faithful would be hoping for exactly the same.
Here are Ejaria’s best bits from this year’s preseason:
(Video courtesy: ScoutNationHD YouTube channel)