Name: Michael Ngoo
Height: 6ft 4
Date of Birth: 23rd Oct 1992
Place of Birth: London
Michael Ngoo could be described as a bit of a raw talent but his impressive physical attributes and finishing ability led Rafa Benitez to sign the youngster from Southend at the beginning of the season. The then 16 year old striker had been on trial at Manchester United at the start of the season, impressing in the Milk Cup in Ireland for United’s youth team. The Merseysiders however beat United to Ngoo’s signature and purchased the striker back in September from Southend for an estimated figure that could rise to as much as £250,000.
At 6ft 4, and now only 17, Ngoo’s aerial ability is no doubt one of the striker’s main attributes and his physical presence has stricken fear into many opposition defences. He has been compared in some quarters to Peter Crouch due to his size. According to Southend centre of excellence manager Luke Hobbs:
Michael has improved so much during the last 12 months. He is effective in the air and a good finisher. Michael is a coach’s dream. When Dean Austin, (Reading assistant manager and ex-Southend reserve team coach), watched this team play against QPR before Christmas his opinion was that Michael was very similar to Peter Crouch when Crouch was a scholar at Tottenham and Austin was a pro there. Michael is a player with so much potential.
Unlike Crouch though, Ngoo also possesses a great deal of pace, something the former Liverpool striker lacked, and combined with his aerial threat, it is package that will get the player far in the professional game. On trial with Manchester United back in August he impressed with his great technique, vision, aerial threat and eye for goal, something which attracted the interest of Liverpool.
Ngoo had signed a scholarship with Southend at the end of last season but hadn’t signed a professional contract with the club. Controversy has surrounded the taking of youngsters from smaller clubs by Premier League sides but Southend were pretty happy with how Liverpool dealt with the situation. After United had had a look at the youngster, Liverpool offered the player a trial and after impressing Liverpool youth coaches, the Reds offered to sign the youngster. Southend were happy with the Reds’ conduct throughout, according to the Shrimpers’ head of youth Ricky Duncan:
Liverpool were excellent from the word go. Obviously we would have liked to have kept the player but when an opportunity like this came along for him we couldn’t stand in his way. I think Michael first came to Liverpool’s attention in the Milk Cup where he played well and scored a few goals. After that Liverpool got in touch with us and offered him a trial. Then they made us an offer which we thought was a fair price. It’s very early in his career but we believe he has the potential to go on and carve out a good career for himself at Liverpool. He leaves Southend with our best wishes and we’re delighted that he has managed to move on to a club of Liverpool’s stature.
Despite only being his first season on Merseyside, Ngoo has impressed on many occasions for Liverpool Under 18s. His aerial abilities are a tremendous asset at this level and although he has not scored as many as he would have liked this season so far, his contribution in all round play must be commended. He scored his first two goals for Liverpool against Blackburn back in October 2009 and has followed that up with a good performance alongside Lauri Dalla Valle in the FA Youth Cup match against Leicester in which they scored four goals between them in a 5-1 thrashing back in January 2010.