Ex-Wrexham FC stopper is living the dream

Reporter:

Richard Williams

GOALKEEPER Danny Ward admitted signing for Liverpool has been a whirlwind experience.

Ward was Wrexham’s youth team shotstopper when he completed a dream move to the Premier League giants on January 30 for an undisclosed fee.

Under the terms of the transfer, the Anfield club paid an initial fee – believed to be in the region of £100,000 – with additional payments due upon Ward breaking into Kenny Dalglish’s first team.

The 18-year-old did not make a first team start for Wrexham, although he did play in the Welsh Cup defeat against Airbus in December, and he has already rubbed shoulders with Liverpool’s star players.

“I was a bit shell-shocked really,” said Ward. “Andy Morrell and my agent contacted me and it just went from there really. It was a bit of whirlwind couple of days.

“I didn’t think I was doing badly at all this season, I came into training and just played as well as I could.

“It is a bit weird going in for training. I am used to coming into Colliers Park every day but you go in and just do the same stuff, and train as hard as you can every day.
“I am just taking each day as it comes.

“The first team trains at Melwood while we train at the academy but I have been up there and have trained with a couple of them which was a bit surreal.

“I trained with Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Jamie Carragher which was crazy!

“I travelled to the Carling Cup final as well which was fantastic, it was the first time I have ever been to Wembley.”

Ward is hoping to get the opportunity to show what he is capable of by playing in Liverpool’s reserve team fixtures as well as for the youth side.

“I have played bits and bobs since I joined,” said Ward. “I have just been finding out the way they play and training hard.

“They have just been basically conditioning me to the way they want me to be and the way they want me to play so I am looking to get game time now.

“I am eligible to play for the youth team and also the reserves.”

Ironically, Ward, who made his Conference debut while on loan at Tamworth last season, spent time at Liverpool’s academy at a younger age and is indebted to Wrexham for overseeing his development.

“I was at Wrexham from the age of 14,” said Ward. “I was at Liverpool when I was nine and then left when I was 10 or 11.

“I signed for Manchester United but got released because I was too small to be a goalkeeper apparently, then I signed for Wrexham.

“I owe a lot to Wrexham because this is where I started my career and they gave me my chance.”

Ward is in line to make his Wales under 21 international debut when Brian Flynn’s side take on Andorra at The Racecourse this afternoon (4pm kick-off).

Already a Welsh under 19 international, Ward is competing for a place in the side with Wrexham goalkeeper and former team-mate Chris Maxwell.

“I have already played for the under 17s and 19s as well as the under 16s in the Victory Shield,” added Ward. “Hopefully I get my first under 21 cap, that is the aim. This is what I have been pushing for since the under 19s, it is the next step closer to the senior team.

“Chris is in the squad but Rhys Taylor has dropped out and his loss is my gain.

“It would be great to play at The Racecourse, Wrexham was brilliant for me. They gave me a lot of experience growing up and gave me my chance.

“I have got a lot of good friends here and it is a good club so it would be nice to come back here and play at The Racecourse.”

Wrexham striker Rob Ogleby, yet to make his debut since joining from Hearts during the January transfer window, is also in the Wales squad but Reds’ defender Danny Alfei is suspended.

Admission if free but supporters must obtain tickets from the Glyndwr University Sports Centre reception.

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