In the 3rd round of the FA Cup, young German kicker Melkamu Frauendorf celebrates his professional debut for Liverpool FC. We introduce the junior national player.
Anfield Road, Sunday Afternoon: The 80th minute of the FA Cup match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town Third Division was underway when the number 94 lit up green on the substitution board when the score was 3-1.
A blow with goalscorer Kaide Gordon, then with the colleagues on the field. Melkamu Frauendorf has a big grin on his face as he steps onto the green lawn in front of nearly 52,000 spectators. After all, that substitution was rightly the professional debut of the 17-year-old.
But who is the midfielder who pulled Jürgen Klopp out of his hat?
Melkamu Frauendorf initially in the shadow of his brother
Frauendorf was born in 2004 in Kembata, Ethiopia. At the age of four, he and his brother Melesse, who was a year and a half older, were adopted by a German couple and raised in Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg. There the two took their first steps in football. Initially, however, Melkamu was overshadowed by Melesse.
“I have to admit that I was wrong about Melkamu in the beginning. I never thought he would be such a good football player,” Andreas Grimm, youth coach of the Frauendorf brothers at SV Schefflenz, admitted to the Rhein-Neckar -Zeitung after Melkamu signed a professional contract with Liverpool.
It was previously Melesse, fullback and now active in the second representation of TSG Hoffenheim, who made the difference. “Having had Melesse on the team, we haven’t lost a single game this season,” said Grimm. With Melkamu, who was initially shy and reserved, “you could notice he got better from year to year”.
At the age of ten, the brothers eventually moved to the youth center of TSG Hoffenheim before Melkamu dared to move to Liverpool in the summer of 2020. For Frauendorf, according to information from SPOX and GOAL also received offers from other English clubs and from FC Bayern Munich, the Kraichgauer received a small training allowance.
Frauendorfs in Liverpool: time to get used to it? Nothing!
At the Reds, where he currently commutes between the U23 and U18, Frauendorf quickly found her niche. In his first year, he made 23 appearances for the U18 in the league (placed there) and FA Youth Cup, scoring seven goals and playing two more.
In the current season, he has already scored four goals and four assists after eleven appearances. He was also deployed in the Youth League (five games, one goal). The crowning glory so far: his professional debut last weekend, just three days before his 18th birthday.
“He is quick, determined and has a great understanding of the game,” says GOAL-Liverpool correspondent Neil Jones about the German junior international who can be used in the attacking midfield. As with any young player, Frauendorf “needs to work on his consistency and physique. I wouldn’t say he’s been outstanding so far, but he has moments where he shows his quality.”
Frauendorf’s big dream: “… know it’s hard”
Or Frauendorf can hope for more minutes after his brief assignment with the Reds, who were manned by Corona busts and Africa Cup participants? “I can imagine he will be integrated into the reserves towards the end of the season,” said Jones, tempering expectations. He does not believe that Frauendorf collects competition exercises elsewhere: “It would be a surprise if it is awarded now or even in the summer.” The right foot may be able to sniff Klopp again next preparation season.
Frauendorf chased a professional’s dream from an early age – and was now able to fulfill it faster than hoped. Another is still pending. “At some point we want to work as professionals for a team. Although we know that it will be difficult,” he emphasized almost two years ago in a double interview with his brother in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung.