Adam Lewis' Career So Far
On an evening when Liverpool started with four teenagers and had another four on the bench, 19-year-old Adam Lewis could have felt aggrieved at not having made his first team bow for his boyhood club. Happy to be involved, but disappointed not to have made his mark for one of the biggest clubs in the world; that is just his mentality.
The left-back was restricted to a watching brief at stadium:mk as Jürgen Klopp’s men – and boys – despatched of MK Dons by four goals to nil. 33-year-old James Milner held Lewis’ spot for the full ninety, and perhaps if the elder wasn’t such a model professional, Lewis would have made his competitive debut that night.
It will come as little surprise that the man known around the training ground as ‘Milly’ is in top condition. “When I go in the gym at Melwood, he’s always there on his own,” Lewis tells Scouted Football. “He doesn’t need anyone to help him, he just cracks on with it.”
Milner is a player Lewis looks up to, and not only because he deputises in his position at left-back. “When a young kid comes in, that’s what you’ve got to look at. If you’re eating the right food and doing what people are telling you to do, then you’ll have a career like him.”
Milner is not the only good influence at Melwood, though. Lewis describes the atmosphere at the club as “one big, massive family” and feels the management and the fans play a huge part in fostering such an inclusive culture.
Lewis missed out on making his debut in Milton Keynes by the virtue of Jürgen Klopp’s decision, but was told he would be involved in the first team squad a great deal more over the coming matches. It was as if he was on the cusp of finally breaking onto the scene of the club he has supported his entire life, and represented since the age of six.
A cruel knee ligament injury, sustained in an U23s fixture with Arsenal just days after that evening at stadium:mk, has robbed him of further first team opportunities, namely being in the Premier League matchday squad against Leicester City.
Sadly the treatment room is not an unfamiliar place for Adam Lewis, having sustained a leg break earlier in his career. His current injury is a great deal more frustrating even than that. At the time of his leg break, he was between the club’s U16 and U18 sides. Now 19 and on the fringes of the first team, he is forced to miss a period crucial for any footballer, never mind one at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
He is resolute though, speaking confidently but humbly, reflecting on how far he has come. “The Scouse mentality,” he says when we ask about his stoic approach, “that’s a big thing for me. I’ll never give up even if we’re losing five-nil and there’s five minutes to go or whatever. I’ll not be the one who puts my head down, I’ll pull my sleeves up and get on with the game.”
Very much a family man, Lewis is grateful for his grounding and being able to pull on the colours his family have always supported. “I want to do it for my family more than anything. My mum’s taken me to my games when I was younger in the rain, so I want to do it for them.”
Lewis was involved with Liverpool’s pre-season tour in the United States over the summer. He describes playing in front of 70,000 in a Liverpool shirt as one of the proudest moments of his life. “I’ll look back at it in years to come and hopefully think I’ve done what I wanted to do.
“Waking up every day, going to training, putting that shirt on, it’s a really proud moment for me.” It is not just his family that he wants to make proud. A Liverpool fan himself, he knows what it means to the millions of the club’s supporters.
“The fans – especially Liverpool fans – you can see how proud they are when a Scouser comes in.” He refers to Trent Alexander-Arnold, a player he knows all too well having shared a pitch through the years in Liverpool’s youth teams. “The fans love it, and I look at myself and think, ‘I’m a Scouser and I’m on the brink of getting into that first team.’” It is almost as he’s fighting the urge to pinch himself.
But he cannot afford to relent. He needs to maintain the ‘Scouse mentality’. Lewis is clear in his aim. Ahead of him in the pecking order is one of English football’s most reliable and successful players of the past 15 years and an international captain who happens to be one of the world’s best full-backs. But these two hurdles matter little to him.
“My main goal is obviously to play left-back, that’s where I see myself at the club.” Strong words, but he is realistic. “Robbo’s [Andy Robertson] not going anywhere, but he’s a good player to look up to. I’m not going to give up at Liverpool.”
Adam Lewis' Liverpool Dream
Lewis speaks like a fan who has been afforded the opportunity of a lifetime. Despite the injury, which rules him out until around Christmas, he recognises he still has time to make his mark. But immediate minutes on the pitch are at the forefront of his mind right now. “I think going on loan in January would help me a lot.” It is a prospect he has discussed with the club, and given his performances at U23 level, would more than likely be beneficial.
However, having rebuffed loan offers in the summer – including some from Italy – the club may look to keep him in reserve following his recovery from injury. This is something he is aware of, and either scenario at this moment in time sounds like good news. “You look at the squad depth in our team at the minute, and there’s Robbo [Andy Robertson] and [James] Milner, he can tuck in there [at left-back], but I’ll play wherever’s available.”
He harks back to Liverpool being his boyhood club, the smirk on his face reappearing as he ponders the prospect of walking out at Anfield. “It’s my team, I’ve grown up supporting Liverpool so I’d do anything to be in that starting XI.”
Desire, passion, belief – it’s all there. Lewis backs it up with an affable persona and a playing repertoire which has earned him the right to feature on the fringes of the Champions League winners’ squad. Andy Robertson is sticking around, and for the time being – albeit due to injury – so is Adam Lewis.
James Milner is a model professional, but will not be around forever, no matter how many lonesome Melwood gym sessions he endures. Lewis’ opportunity will come, perhaps later than he intended, but at 19 he has time. Not only that, he has the drive and determination to carry out his lifelong ambition.
He has the ‘Scouse mentality’, a phrase someone will undoubtedly have coined before him, but it is Lewis who is manifesting it – on the pitch and in the treatment room. Taking to the turf at Anfield feels like a matter of when, not if.