Liverpool keeper Shamal George has had quite a week as he complemented signing a new deal with the Premier League giants on Monday with a move to Brunton Park on Tuesday morning which gives him his first taste of league football as he goes head-to-head with Jack Bonham for the right to wear the number one jersey.
The tall stopper has joined United on a half-season loan deal, having spent time with Jurgen Klopp’s first team on a pre-season tour to the USA last summer, and having accompanied the squad to Basel for some senior cup action to get a further taste of what life with one of Europe’s biggest clubs is like.
At 19-years-old, and having come through the ranks at Anfield with an excellent reputation, he was quick to admit that he feels the time is right to take on this new challenge.
“I got told a few weeks ago that I could go to either Bury or Carlisle once the situation at Liverpool was sorted,” he said. “I sat down with my agent and we decided this was the best option for me. It’s a good standard of men’s football and hopefully I can play and take the next step here.
“The club were in the play-offs last season so you immediately know you’re coming to a good team. Hopefully this season we can go one better and take the step up. The coaches here encouraged me to come to this club and I’m happy with my decision.
“I’m coming here to play. I know I’ve got competition, but I like competition. I’m up for any challenge. I’ll back myself and hopefully I can come in and play here.”
As for what the United fans can expect from him, he said: “My strengths are that I’m good with my feet and I’ve got good shot stopping ability. I’m tall, so I can come for crosses, and my only weakness is probably my left foot.
“I need to work on that, but I’m happy to do whatever is necessary. I’m ready to come here and develop. I’m mature and I feel that I’ve been through the development stage at Liverpool.
“I was unlucky in that I was injured a lot last season and I was out for basically the whole year. Hopefully I can come here and really push on and find my form again.”
Part of the summer 2016 itinerary with the Liverpool first team squad included an unlikely appearance as a substitute in a friendly against Huddersfield Town when manager Jurgen Klopp gave him the nod to put the famous red jersey on and take to the field as a striker.
“That’s the manager for you!” he commented. “We had no more subs left and he needed to make the change, so he looked at me and told me to get out there. It’s one I’ll remember, there’s no doubt about that.
“It was a big confidence boost to be involved in pre-season with the first team. I went to Basel with the squad for the Europa League final as well. Being around the first team gives you confidence but it also really helps your development. This loan move will help me again and I’m determined to use it to help me to push on.
“To be at a club like Liverpool is a dream come true for me, to be honest, especially with me being from Liverpool and a Liverpool fan. It’s a big opportunity for me and my family so I want to make sure I take it. This loan move will help with that development.”
And on what his coaches back on Merseyside have told him to take from the next five months, he said: “The staff at Liverpool would obviously like to see me play games. They want me to get my confidence back and find my form.
Hopefully I can do well and the club will want to keep me for the whole year ...
“I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully I can do well and the club will want to keep me for the whole year. I back myself to do well when the chance comes so I’ll be working hard to impress everyone and to do a good job.”
“I do have a lot of confidence in my ability,” he added. “I’m confident, but I’m not cocky. I was a bit nervous as I was driving up to Carlisle this morning but it wasn’t too bad. I’ve settled in already and I’m just looking forward to getting going now.
“To get my first training session under my belt has helped with me settling in. I felt I did well and the lads were all very nice to me. I’m happy to be here and I’m excited about the next steps.”
“I feel like I’m ready for men’s football now and I just can’t wait,” he concluded. “There are only a few days before the season starts, which is also exciting. Lawrence Vigouroux [keeper with Swindon Town] used to be at Liverpool so I’ve already spoken to him and it will be good to see him on Saturday.
“Hopefully I’ll be playing against him but, if not, I’ll be working hard to get my chance in the next few weeks. I do feel like I’ve got things to prove so I want to prove myself as much as I can, both to Liverpool and Carlisle United.
“I’d like to play every game during my time here but we’ll see what happens. I’m just excited to be here.”
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