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Liverpool starlet Mabaya close to return after lengthy injury

Isaac Mabaya

LIVERPOOL could be bolstered by the return of 18-year-old England-born Zimbabwean starlet Isaac Mabaya when they begin their FA Youth Cup campaign at Bournemouth on Thursday.

Mabaya has been out of action since suffering an injury during the Uefa Youth League game at home to Rangers on October 4.

The right-back, who featured for the Liverpool senior team on the pre-season tour to the Far East, has returned to training and will be hoping for involvement as Liverpool prepare to begin their FA Youth Cup campaign.

Liverpool U18s boss Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, who has played a key role in Mabaya’s development said the young defender’s return was a major boost for his side.

“It's great to have Isaac back and he has been missed. Isaac was in a really nice vein of form and it was a shame he picked that injury up,” said Bridge-Wilkinson in an interview with Liverpool’s official website (liverpoolfc.com).

“We all know what he's capable of and we know that on his day he can be a really outstanding player.

“The most important thing is that Isaac is training, but the most important thing is we don't take any risks. If he is available for us to use on Thursday then brilliant, but if he is not then we'll make sure the decision is right for him and for his career moving forward.”

The Liverpool Academy coach also shared his thoughts on Mabaya’s versatility, having featured regularly as a right-back this season after being recently switched from an attacking midfield role.

“Isaac is very versatile and he can play in midfield or at right-back. He has done very well there at U21 level and also he played there for the first team in pre-season. Before his injury, Isaac had a nice blend of everything really.”

Mabaya is expected to play a key role for the Liverpool youngsters, who are aiming to make an impact in the FA Youth Cup competition.

Last season, the Reds' under-18 side thrilled their way to the final where they were narrowly beaten 2-1 at Aston Villa.

Born in Preston, England, to Zimbabwean parents, Mabaya signed his first professional contract with the Reds in September 2021.

The defender has represented England at junior level, but is still eligible to switch allegiance to Zimbabwe in the future.

Since his involvement during the preseason, Mabaya has been involved in the senior training set-up this season as he continues to make significant strides at the Merseyside giants.

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