Preston are looking at Ben Woodburn and Ryan Lowe will surely have the backing of his old mate Steven Gerrard.
North End returned to Euxton for the start of pre-season training on Monday.
There were a couple of new faces in the building as goalkeepers Freddie Woodman and David Cornell trained under Ryan Lowe for the first time.
What fans really weren’t expecting was the introduction of a trialist, even with Lowe desperate to bolster his Preston squad.
Preston are looking at Ben Woodburn
Reports broke on Monday morning suggesting that ex-Liverpool talent Ben Woodburn had joined Preston on a two-week trial.
Lowe later confirmed that Woodburn was indeed on trial with Preston and photos emerged of him training at Euxton.
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Lowe explained that Woodburn is a player he has tracked for years now, ever since he broke through at Liverpool.
Woodburn became Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer back in 2016 as he scored against Leeds United in the EFL Cup.
Many backed Woodburn to become a star, especially after a stunning goal on his Wales debut against Austria in 2017.
That isn’t how Woodburn’s career has panned out though and he now joins up with Preston in desperate need of a settled home.
Loan spells at Sheffield United, Oxford United, Blackpool and Hearts just haven’t worked out for Woodburn, so it’s down to Lowe to get the best out of him.
One man who thought highly of Woodburn at Liverpool was Steven Gerrard – a close friend of Lowe.
We have all heard how Lowe’s relationship with Gerrard helped Preston sign Cameron Archer on loan in January.
It goes much further than that though as the two Liverpudlians have been involved in deals for years.
Gerrard sent Jamie Barjonas and Jordan Rossiter to Lowe’s Bury in the 2018-19 season. When Lowe wanted former Rangers striker Ryan Hardie at Plymouth Argyle, Gerrard gave him a glowing reference.
Gerrard and Lowe even went head-to-head in 2018 as Rangers played Bury in a pre-season friendly.
It’s fair to say that Gerrard and Lowe are heavily involved with each other in football and the Liverpool legend’s verdict on Woodburn is interesting.
Gerrard coached Woodburn in the Liverpool setup and branded him a ‘fantastic footballer’ back in 2017.
The now-Villa boss noted that Woodburn was playing with confidence and was simply ‘superb’ when in full flow.
If Lowe needed another reference from Gerrard then the message may be that Woodburn can rediscover his quality once his confidence is back.
Lowe knowing Woodburn’s former coach just gives Preston that added insight into the trialist’s ability, and Gerrard would surely love to see him get back on track with North End.