When Trent and Liverpool are mentioned in the same sentence it can only mean one thing, magic! But it isn’t just Trent Alexander Arnold who’s catching the eye at the AXA Training Centre. His namesake, 17-year-old Irishman, Trent Kone-Doherty has also been turning heads.  

In July 2022, the somewhat unknown quantity made the big move to Liverpool from Derry City for a reported £175,000, excluding potential add-ons.

From simply being known as the lad with the same name as a certain first team player, Kone-Doherty signed his first professional contract with the Reds this week and is being hailed as one to watch. This has come as no surprise for those in the Irish football community where his talent has always been obvious.  

From starting his fledgling career at Foyle Harps aged just six, Kone-Doherty shone at Shantallow which resulted in a move to League of Ireland giants Derry City at the age of 13. His game went to another level there that eventually led to a trial at Scottish giants Celtic in 2020. 

Derry City u19’s manager, Gerard Boyle, worked with Kone-Doherty at u17’s level and can’t speak highly enough of the winger: “He was so coachable,” Boyle told Mersey Sport Live.

“By the time he got to me at u17 level he was already very proficient technically and that is credit to himself and previous coaches at Foyle Harps and Derry.

“He took onboard tactical information really well and he would be very forthcoming with tactical solutions for some of the scenarios we used to question them on.”

These achievements didn’t go unnoticed leading to his first Ireland underage call up in September 2021 in a double header against Malta where he scored a stunning free kick. He then went on to star for Ireland in the Victory Shield later that year.

But it was in April 2022 where Kone-Doherty truly announced himself on the international stage when he was named Player of the Tournament at the Miljan Miljanic Tournament in Serbia, scoring three goals in two games and tearing defences apart. 

He continued to shine at club level where he was given a squad number in the Derry City first team at just 15 in 2022. He featured for the Candystripes in pre-season that year as Liverpool and Celtic kept tabs on his development.

The feeling around Derry was that he wouldn’t be around for long to feature for the first team regularly. While Kone-Doherty played in numerous friendlies, he never made a competitive appearance for the senior team. Derry knew they couldn’t keep hold of a kid who had the world at his feet. 

It was in July 2022 where his dream became a reality, leaving Derry for Merseyside to sign for Liverpool, and his former coach knows all too well the attributes that saw the Reds move for the speedy teenager.

He said: “Trent always possessed excellent close control and could manipulate the ball very well with both feet.

“He had incredible acceleration and deceleration. Trent enjoyed running at defenders with the ball and could glide by them before delivering a good pass or shooting.

“His attitude was first class, so well-mannered and so receptive to receiving information and advice. He was liked by all his teammates. He never stopped smiling.” 

It didn’t take long for Kone-Doherty to settle at Liverpool, scoring a brace against Man Utd U18’s in his third game for club.

He soon started to become more than the Irish lad with the same name as TAA, scoring 16 and assisting four whilst featuring for the 18’s, 19’s and 21’s in the 22/23 season.

Unfortunately for the youngster, his season was cut short when he picked up a nasty injury playing for Ireland U17’s in March which ruled him out for almost five months. That meant missing the U17 European Championship as Ireland reached the quarter final, posing the question; how far could Ireland have gone if Kone-Doherty was involved? 

His start to the 23/24 season has been just as impressive as his first year on Merseyside. In pre-season he returned home to Derry with his Liverpool team mates to play in the Super Cup NI where he was awarded Player of the Tournament.

And he has started the competitive U18 campaign with five goals in five games and two assists. Some of his finishes have been frightening and the improvement he’s made with his weaker left foot has been notable.

Kone-Doherty has also scored for Liverpool’s U21 side this season. But the biggest step he has made so far has been the transition to train with the first team in the build-up to the Merseyside derby.  

Boyle has not been surprised with Kone-Doherty’s quick adaption to life in Merseyside: “I always thought he had an X factor about him that would ensure he could impress at any level,” he said.

“He was also always humble and hard working, so that was always going to stand him in good stead. Then add to that his superb athletic profile. 

“However, training with the first team at the start of his second season is some going by any standards.” 

No doubt Kone-Doherty will be smiling again this week as he hopes to one day emulate the other Trent in the camp.

 What type of player is Kone-Doherty? 

His slight stature does not seem to be an issue as he has a very low centre of gravity which he uses brilliantly to bypass opponents with ease.

He is capable of playing on the left or right flank and is renowned for his ferocious pace. Unlike most lads his age, who have similar pace, he has the composure in the final third to finish. 

Credit must go to Foyle Harps and Derry City for developing Trent to help secure his big move. When you look at most youngtsers who travel over from Ireland to UK academies, they tend to be quite raw, but Kone-Doherty, while not the finished article, looks more refined.

His running style with the ball remind you of a young Raheem Sterling. The only thing holding him back from playing for the first team could be his physical strength and size. At just 17 he still has plenty of growing and filling out to do.