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Layton Stewart joins Preston North End on three year deal

[Credit: PNE]

Preston North End have signed talented forward Layton Stewart from Liverpool on a three deal for an undisclosed fee.

The 20-year-old was part of the Liverpool academy from the age of seven and has represented England at U18 level but now makes the move to Deepdale.

Stewart signed his first professional contract with Liverpool in February 2020 but saw his progression harshly abrupted when he suffered a long-term ACL injury in 2021.

Now fully recovered, he made his senior debut for Liverpool last season in the Carabao Cup against Derby County in November. The forward is excited at the prospect of regular senior football at Deepdale.

He said: “I’m delighted to be here. It’s another step in my career, on my journey, so I think it’s the right move for my development to try and get some first team football.

“I’m delighted it’s a permanent because I can get settled in, start to find my feet and I can’t wait to meet the lads and play.

“I’ve scored at youth level but I’ve got to take it into a first team environment now and try and do it for Preston in the games that I play in.

“I need to be with the lads and try and find my feet fast. It’s a big opportunity but it’s a good one for me to develop and obviously I need time, but hopefully I can do what I’ve done over the past few years.”

The forward was part of the Liverpool side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2018/19, scoring in his only appearance with a goal, but it was the year after he fully broke into the U18 setup.

He netted 14 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions that season as well as making his debut at U23 level. He also made the bench for the Reds’ Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa aged just 16.

Stewart’s 2020/21 season started superbly with an incredible 15 goals in 10 games for the Liverpool U18s before he suffered his ACL injury which cut his season short as well as seeing him miss the vast majority of the 2021/22 campaign.

He returned to full fitness last season where he scored 11 goals in 17 Premier League 2 matches as well as making his senior debut.

Preston Manager Ryan Lowe said: “Layton’s a player I’ve monitored and known for many years at Liverpool and I’m really glad we’ve got him in on a permanent deal.

“It’s important to have one of our own and tied down to a long-term contract so we can really develop him and hopefully turn him into a top player.

“What I will say is we’ll take our time with him and build him up. He’ll need to get used to Championship football so I don’t want to put too much pressure on him from the outset, but we’re really excited to have him here.

“He’s a fox in the box and more importantly he’s a real goalscorer. He’ll learn loads here and we feel we can get him in the right areas to give him the chances we know he can put away.”

Stewart’s move sees him reunited with former Liverpool teammates Calvin Ramsey, who is on loan at Preston for the 2023/24 season, and Ben Woodburn.

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