Name: Ki-Jana Hoever
Date of Birth: 18 January 2002
Ki-Jana Hoever – His career so far
Liverpool certainly seem quite blessed in the full-back department, especially on that right side where one of the best right-backs on the planet operates for their first team. But deeper down the ranks, there are other really talented youngsters waiting for their chance to shine and one of them is definitely the 18-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever.
But unlike Neco Williams, the other young right-back prospect in the youth ranks, Hoever is not a product of their academy but was transferred to Liverpool back in 2018, opting for the Merseyside outfit rather than penning his first professional contract with the former club, Ajax.
Still, he was highly rated in Holland where he joined their titans when he was just 14 and he is now highly rated at Anfield as well, slotting right into their U18 squad and recording huge achievements almost on a monthly basis.
In September that same year, he debuted for his new team but was quickly promoted to the U19 squad in October. Even more impressively, his U23 debut wasn’t that far away either and it arrived in November, quickly followed by promotion to Melwood where he trained with the first team for the first time in December.
And as expected, more milestones were reached in the following year as on 7 January 2019, aged only 16, 11 months and 21 days, Hoever became the third-youngest debutant in Liverpool’s rich history when he came on during the FA Cup round tie at Molineux, joining Jerome Sinclair and Jack Robinson as the youngest and second-youngest record-breakers before him respectively.
Since then, the now 18-year-old lad has tallied four senior appearances in total – the other three after his debut in 2018/19 all came in 2019/20 as he tallied two in the EFL Cup and one in the FA Cup in the ongoing campaign.
Source for appearances:
At the very moment, there are not many transfer rumours surrounding the young Liverpool starlet as it seems he will simply keep developing and then we’ll see where he stands when football finally makes its grand return.
And even though it’s not really a transfer news per se, when he was asked on his Instagram Q&A about his preferred position, Hoever revealed that he favours the right-back position. While that may seem like a pretty vague statement, he was initially described to be a centre-back rather than a wide defender.
So while this does not necessarily count as a transfer rumour or big Liverpool news, it does suggest he could keep developing in that area rather than being utilised as a potential central defender further down the line of his career.
But just having a youngster capable of being deployed at both positions is a privilege not many clubs can boast with.
Earlier in his still-young career, he was considered more of a centre-back than a right-back, which would explain people’s interest in his favourite position on the pitch. But regardless of whether he’s being played at right-back or centre-back, Hoever’s defensive traits are clear for everyone to see.
His positioning is quite strong and he is always aware of his surroundings, which helps him to snuff out danger even before it materialises into something concrete. But his positioning is what’s also a clear difference between him and Trent Alexander-Arnold or Williams.
While the aforementioned duo is really attacking-minded and spends the majority of their time in the opposition’s half, Hoever drifts centrally on occasion and sticks to a deeper area in his own half to provide the team with defensive stability.
Of course, just the fact that he spends some games as the team’s right centre-back explains this tendency to stay more centrally positioned but it’s also simply a part of his overall play style.
Some of the main defensive attributes we have to mention are 5.9 interceptions per 90 minutes and 57.8% of defensive duels won in 2019/20. He also seems pretty good in the air, winning 64.3% of all of his aerial battles and also recovered the ball 11.1 times per 90 minutes in the ongoing campaign.
As it currently stands, he could offer Liverpool with a more defensive approach as opposed to their usual right-back options, which is definitely a huge asset to have.
All stats were taken from Wyscout.
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