Swansea City manager Steve Cooper says Rhian Brewster’s chances of breaking into a title-winning Liverpool side are “down to him”.
Brewster, 20, has hit six goals in 12 games on loan in the Championship as he looks to catch the eye of Jurgen Klopp.
Cooper says the striker must continue to make the most of his opportunities in south Wales if he wants to press his claims at Anfield next season.
“If Rhian does, he’ll give himself a good chance,” said Cooper.
Brewster was left celebrating Liverpool’s Premier League triumph from afar on Thursday.
Having been part of the squad that claimed the Champions League trophy in June 2019, a year later the England youth international has been preparing for Swansea’s Saturday fixture with Luton rather than toasting success on Merseyside.
Klopp declared it was a good moment and the right thing for the rookie goalscorer to leave on loan in January, something Brewster agreed with as he linked up with his former England Under-17s World Cup-winning coach Cooper.
With only two EFL Cup and one FA Cup substitute appearance to his name at the Reds, the move may have cost him the chance of a Premier League debut, illustrated by the fact fellow Liverpool youth-team product Neco Williams came off the bench for his top-flight bow in Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Yet, at the time of his move, Brewster acknowledged it was better for him to gain serious game time if he is to seriously be considered as part of a Liverpool attacking line-up that has seen Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane hit 40 goals between them on the way to a first title in 30 years.
It is a tall order, but Cooper – formerly the manager of Liverpool’s academy – says that Brewster is going about things the right way.
On whether Brewster has what it takes to go from fringes to first team under Klopp, Cooper said: “It’s up to him. We’re going to give him opportunities here and, as long as he keeps applying himself and performing as he is, he will get good game time with us.
“In the end with young players it’s one thing giving them opportunities, it’s another thing taking them. That’s what gets players to the level they end up at.”
Brewster is making the most of opportunities at Swansea. Though Cooper has denied there have been any guarantees over involvement, the player has started all but one of the fixtures with his finishing ability making him an asset to the play-off chasers.
“I’ve not been surprised because I really believe in the boy,” said Cooper, who saw Brewster hit two as Swansea returned to Championship action with a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough last weekend.
“We know he obviously has the talent to have an impact on games, but I also know he has the drive and commitment and I think that is so important in the league.
“It’s still relatively early – 12 games is not loads – and (although) he’s got six goals, he’ll be aiming for more and I’ve set him some objectives which I hope he reaches because we’ll all benefit from that. His challenge is to keep going.
“He’s a good player, a great lad, and very well-liked by the boys here. He’s settled in brilliantly, loves life in Swansea, and is enjoying playing every week.
“As long as he keeps playing well and scoring that will continue, but like any young player he has to focus on the present and get the most out of every day and he’ll get the rewards along with the experience.”
Cooper is well qualified on the matter given his record in youth development, with Chelsea also trusting the 40-year-old with midfielder Connor Gallagher and Marc Guehi as part of a six-strong Liberty Stadium loan contingent.
All are expected to formally have their loans extended to cover Swansea’s run-in, with Cooper adding: “The more good players we have here, it’s better for us.
“We like giving young players minutes and opportunities and we believe in them.
“If they do well we all benefit because it’s also about us as a football club and what we get out of it.”