Not a lot of professional footballers get the chance to play for their boyhood club, so when the opportunity surfaced to sign for Liverpool, it was an easy decision for Matty Virtue to make.
“Well I was born in Epsom and I joined the Chelsea academy when I was 9. A few years after that my dad got a job up in Liverpool, so my family relocated up north,” Virtue told Anfield Edition.
“I trialled at both Liverpool and Everton, and obviously ended up choosing Liverpool.”
“I’ve been a Liverpool fan since I was really young; my mum is from Liverpool and that’s where it stemmed from really, and so to get the chance to play for the team you support, well you can’t beat that really.”
Virtue has been involved in plenty of first-team training sessions at Melwood and is eager to learn from the world-class talent around him.
“It’s unbelievable to be in and around top-class players on a regular basis. They help you mature, they treat you as one of their own and obviously you learn loads from them.”
“I’m a midfielder, so I’m always watching the likes of Gini Wijnaldum, Emre Can and Jordan Henderson closely.”
“Ultimately, they’re the players whose shirt I’m trying to take, so you have to try and absorb as much as you possibly can from their game and add it to your own. ”
Matty played in the same youth teams as academy graduate Trent Alexander-Arnold and wants to follow in his footsteps by making the transition to the senior squad.
“Last season Trent played loads of games for us at U23 level.”
“Obviously he’s a really talented player and a great lad, and he’s shown all of us that if you get an opportunity and take it, the boss is going to stick with you.”
“Watching Trent play in the big games like the Champions League ties motivates me, even more, to make that move up.”
When I asked what Jürgen Klopp was like, there was no surprise that Matty was full of admiration for the Liverpool manager.
“He [Klopp] is a great coach and he’s an excellent man manager; he knows all the names and positions of us young lads for when we come up and train with the first team.”
“It’s massive that the boss knows who you are and what you’re like as a player before you’ve even joined in with a senior training session.”
When asked about his career highlight to date, there was one particular game that stood out to Virtue.
“I scored a hat-trick for the U23’s against Burnley last season, which is something I’ll always remember for the rest of my life.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m a goalscoring midfielder, but more of an all-rounder, so to score three in one game was something really special.”
To finish the interview, Matty discussed what he aims to achieve in his career as a footballer.
“I want to play week in week out in for Liverpool in the Premier League.”
“That’s always been the goal ever since I was a lad and I’m going to do the most I possibly can to accomplish that.”