Difficult Sheffield United spell won't affect Liverpool prospect '“ Giggs

Ryan Giggs has backed Liverpool striker Ben Woodburn to emerge a stronger player from his Sheffield United loan troubles.

Ben Woodburn in action for Sheffield United against Birmingham City in the Championship earlier this season (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage)

Little over a year ago, Woodburn was the toast of Wales having scored a precious World Cup winner against Austria just five minutes into his international debut.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp even hailed Woodburn as ‘The Prince of Wales’ after his swift rise to prominence, and the teenager seemed set to break into the first-team picture at Anfield on a regular basis.

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But Woodburn, who became Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 45 days when he netted against Leeds in the EFL Cup in November 2016, was loaned out to Sheffield United and failed to make the impact expected of him at Bramall Lane.

Woodburn, who turns 19 next week, has started only once in the Sky Bet Championship and has yet to score in seven appearances for the Blades.

He has made one other start in the League Cup while Chris Wilder’s United have soared to the top of the Championship.

“I’ve got no concerns regarding Ben’s quality, I’ve seen it in training in the last camp,” Wales manager Giggs said.

“He’s just not getting regular game-time at the moment.

Ben Woodburn replaces Tom Lawrence during Wales's Nations League, League B Group four match at Ceres Park, Aarhus. (Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire)

“Sometimes it works out on loan, sometimes it doesn’t – but this could be a good thing.

“When you go through difficult times, which he is at the moment, and you come through it, sometimes you are a better player and a better person.

“The quality is definitely there and it’s up to Ben to make the most of that. It’s only him that can do that.”

Woodburn is part of a fresh-faced Wales squad that hosts Spain in a Cardiff friendly on Thursday before taking on the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League five days later.