Mike Garrity has revealed the challenge Liverpool's Academy coaches have set Harry Wilson as the Reds' U23s captain bids to become a first-team player: 'Become outstanding.'
Since being handed the armband by former coach Michael Beale at the start of the season, the Welsh forward has flourished.
Wilson, who turned 20 last month, has netted 28 goals for the U23s this term and made his senior Liverpool debut against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in January.
U23s boss Garrity feels his skipper is making impressive progress and has urged him to ‘become outstanding’.
“Harry has done very well and it doesn’t surprise me that he has scored so many goals - that’s what he does,” Garrity told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Harry is very good at getting in between defenders and when he does, in the final third he is extremely dangerous.
“I am so pleased for him this season because last year, I wouldn’t say it was stop-start, but it was a campaign that never really got going for him at all really.
“He had a loan [at Crewe Alexandra] that never really worked out and then he got injured with a problem with his foot, so it was a very frustrating time for him.
“He came back sharp and he hit the ground running straight away in pre-season and he hasn’t looked back.
“He has put in consistent performances at U23 level with goals and assists, and he got the recognition from Melwood. He has made the jump over there and he has done well.
“Harry has helped the U23s team in more ways than one and he has gone from strength to strength. He is another boy who is level-headed with his feet on the ground.
“He has got to continue working hard and keep developing the strengths that he has got and become outstanding at what he does, and then hopefully we can see him break through.”
Explaining the reasoning behind Wilson being handed the U23s captaincy, Garrity added: “People lead in different ways and Harry is not a shouter, but I think he leads by action more than vocally.
“The decision to give him the captain’s armband was to give him more responsibility on the pitch in terms of being more accountable for his actions, and when you are captain you have to do that and think about other people and not just yourself.
“I think it has helped Harry and it has given him a lot of confidence because he knows how much we believe in him and how much faith we have in him because he has got a lot of ability.”
The U23s return to action tonight in the semi-finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup against Rochdale - a game you can watch exclusively live on LFCTV GO (kick-off at 7pm BST) - just 48 hours after Matty Virtue scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner to earn a 3-2 victory over Manchester City.
Garrity revealed Virtue is beginning to reap the rewards of the extra work he has put in on the training ground to improve his all-round game.
The midfielder’s progress was recently recognised when Jürgen Klopp included the 19-year-old in the travelling party for the mid-season training camp in Tenerife.
Garrity said: “I’m delighted with Matty. From where he has come from the last couple of years he deserves tremendous plaudits for the amount of effort he has put into his game.
“People don’t see the amount of time he has put into where he has got to at this moment and he isn’t finished yet, there is still more to come from Matty.
“I remember at the start of the season he came to me in July and he was very specific in the areas of his game he wanted to get better at and improve on, and he has invested a lot of his time in himself on the training ground in order to do that.
“So he spent a lot of time himself to improve a couple of little areas of his game and I think we are seeing the benefit of that now and it’s coming to fruition with the progress that he has made.
“He has also chipped in with some vital goals for us this season and he got his first senior hat-trick in the Lancashire Cup against Burnley. He can be quite dangerous when he gets forward and we encourage him to do that a lot more.
“But in terms of his season he can be very pleased with how it has gone and he will get stronger.”