Ben Doak warning issued by manager ahead of major decision on Liverpool youngster

Ben Doak of Scotland poses for a portrait during the Scotland Portrait session ahead of the UEFA EURO 2024 Germany on May 30, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland.
-Credit: (Image: Alex Pantling - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

It's set to be a milestone summer for Ben Doak. Named in Steve Clarke's provisional Scotland squad for Euro 2024, he's expected to make his first senior appearance tonight against Gibraltar — but the manager has sounded a warning.

Signed from Celtic, the 18-year-old looked like he was in for a big season at Liverpool when he replaced Mohamed Salah off the bench on the opening day of the Premier League season against Chelsea. But after a handful of further involvements, injury curtailed his campaign.

Nonetheless, having made a recovery, Doak has been included in Clarke's plans — and even looks likely to make the final squad, following the withdrawal of Lyndon Dykes through injury. The Liverpool prospect is now one of just three available forwards ahead of the tournament in Germany.

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And with Clarke having named a relatively small 28-man squad initially, Scotland only needs to cut one more player in light of the injury to Dykes. There are currently four goalkeepers on the roster, so one of them is likely to make way, leaving Doak with a seat on the plane.

"He will be available [against Gibraltar], maybe some minutes off the bench," Clarke confirmed. That's one of two warm-up fixtures, with Scotland also set to face Finland on June 7 before opening Euro 2024 against Germany on June 14.

However, Clarke was also quick to preach caution when it comes to Doak. He issued a warning:

"Listen, Ben is in the squad to gain experience, to work with us," he said. "He has been out [injured] for four-and-a-half months so let’s not put too much on Ben.

"Let’s keep Ben in the right place. Let’s not overhype or overpush him. Let’s do it properly."

Arne Slot may be disappointed to miss out on an extended pre-season with Doak, but Liverpool will hope to see him shine on the international stage. And Clarke's caution can only be a good thing, with everyone eager to avoid re-injury. says: It doesn't sound as though Clarke intends to use Doak extensively in Germany, but any more injuries could really force his hand. Certainly, there's a plausible path to minutes, and public pressure will mount if he impresses against Gibraltar and Finland.

If nothing else, it's a reminder to Liverpool that it has a precocious talent on its hands. Doak is often forgotten in the conversation about options available to Slot, but he was on a really bright trajectory before the injury, and is still extremely young.