Leighton Clarkson is arguably the hottest footballing prospect to come out of the Ribble Valley for many years and we are lucky enough to have had him for a short length of time with Wolves. In this interview he recalls his time with us and also talks about the amazing times he has had with Liverpool through the Youth ranks and making his first team debut vs Aston Villa in Dec 2019.
What is it like training with World class players like Mane and Salah etc ?
It is unbelievable, they are World Class players and every time I get the chance to train with them I want to learn from them and hopefully it will make me a better player.
What was it like walking out at Anfield for your very first game ?
It was an unbelievable feeling to be fair and something I have always dreamed of. All my family were in the stadium and 50-60 thousand fans cheering us on is a moment I won’t forget.
What position did you play in Wolves ?
I have always been a central midfielder right through the ages from Clitheroe to Liverpool, it is all I have wanted to do and Steven Gerrard was my idol growing up I wanted to try and be like him.
Who is your favourite Liverpool player ?
I don’t really have a favourite player as they are all good lads, I talk to Oxlade-Chamberlain a lot and Mane bu they are all good lads and very welcoming every time I go to Melwood.
Who was your manager in Wolves and how would you describe his managerial style ?
I remember it was Ste Thornber and I played when I was 6/7 but played a year up most of the time. He was always fair with the lads and gave equal game time to us all and made it enjoyable for the lads. I can’t really remember his managerial style as it was 7 aside but I loved playing for Wolves every weekend.
Who was the best player you have played with in Wolves ?
To be fair I am still very good mates with a lot the lads I played with in Wolves. I would probably say Connor Jackson though, he was a striker and I provided a lot of goals for him and him me so I would say Connor.
Which team do you support ?
I have always been a Blackburn Fan. My auntie and uncle used to take me and I have a season ticket. When I went into the Under 16s at Liverpool though they changed the schedule though and we played Saturday so it made it harder to get back for the matches.
Who is the best player you have ever seen live ?
I’d have to say Ronaldo. It was Liverpool vs Real a couple of seasons ago and I was ball boy for that game and I remember watching some of the things he did were ridiculous. I have’t seen Messi live though so I would probably say him but Ronaldo at the moment.
Who is your favourite player of all time and why ?
Definitely Steven Gerrard. He has been my idol growing up. He is is a Liverpool legend with the amount of goals he scored from midfield and the amount of assists he made. So yeah Steven for me.
Who is the best player you have played against ?
It would have to be Morgan Gibbs-White who plays for Wolves, he has played for the first team quite a few times. A couple of months ago we played Wolves in the cup and he was against me in central midfield. He was very good technically and tactically and will be a very good player for years to come.
Who has the best banter at Liverpool ?
To be fair they all have a fair bit of banter between them. It is a very happy place to be around at the minute but I would like to say the English lads such as Trent, Henderson and Milner. They are always having banter between them so I would say the English lads.
What is the best goal you have ever scored ?
Probably a free kick against Everton in my first year in the Under 18s. It was a decent goal and it made it more special because of who we played. Everton were top of the league and if we won we went top. I scored and we went on to win 4-3 which meant a lot.
If you could have dinner with any 3 people dead or alive who would it be and why ?
Messi would be the first as I believe he is the best player to have ever played the game. His goals and assists and pretty much everything about his game makes him a sensational player. Secondly it would be Tyson Fury, I am into my boxing and he is a brilliant role model, not because of the boxing but more of what he has been through with mental health issues and the way he came back from them. Third one would be Gerrard, although I have spoke with him a few times. I have been lucky enough to play under him a couple of times but he is a great guy and would like to know more.
Does Virgil Van Diyk always smell good ?
Yeah he always smells good. He sprays before and after training and after games. To be honest most of the lads have a decent collections of aftershaves.
Who has the whitest teeth Klopp or Firminio ?
Ha ha Firminio definitely, as you can tell his teeth are so white you can’t miss them !
What advice would you give any child wanting to make it as a professional ?
I would say the first thing would be to work hard. You should work harder than any other player in the team. Practice not just the things you are good at but more so the things you are not so good at, keep trying new things
Did your parents ever nag you to get your school work done before being allowed to play football ?
Yes they did, education comes first and they made sure I did my homework before going out to play with my mates or training. Yeah Mum and Dad were pretty tough with things like that to be honest.
What age did you realise you could make it as a professional ?
When you are younger you don’t really think about making it as a Pro, you just dream about it but really you want to have fun, get better and play with your mates. It is only as you get older 10/11, I signed for Liverpool at 9, from then on it’s practice, practice to till 15/16 when you realise what it could be like. Especially when you get to the 18s and 23s level it is a mans game then and it is then you realise how well you could do at a club.
What is it like to play in a packed Stadium ?
It is unbelievable to be fair, walking out of the tunnel at Anfield listening to 50/60 thousand signing You’ll Never Walk Alone is something I want to hear more of !!!