Jonathan Woodgate has revealed that he recommended current AC Milan star Theo Hernandez to the club whilst working as a scout.
Woodgate says that he was watching players from around the world trying to find the next talent, namechecking the likes of Ruben Dias and Marcos Llorente, and ended up telling the club that they should make a move for Hernandez.
Speaking on Jamie Carragher’s The Greatest Game podcast, as transcribed by the Liverpool Echo, Woodgate revealed that Hernandez was a player he tried to get Liverpool to sign. “You get to know all the younger players from around the world like the lad [Marcos] Llorente at Atletico Madrid, the Hernandez brothers who moved to Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – and Ruben Dias at Benfica [now at Man City].
“I recommended a player who signed for Real Madrid. I absolutely adored him but [Liverpool] decided they didn’t want him. He’s done OK – he’s at AC Milan now. Theo Hernandez – bombs on for fun, and he’s a machine.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Real Madrid reportedly paid £21.6m to sign Hernandez from Atletico and, whilst he did not end up being a regular at Real, that is looking excellent value now. He has been exceptional since his move to Milan in 2019 for £18m, playing 42 Serie A matches for the club since the start of last season. In his first campaign, he averaged an excellent WhoScored rating of 7.19 as he scored six and assisted three from left-back, before upping the ante this season with an average score of 7.53 in the Serie A.
Hernandez’s ratings over the last 18 months have actually been higher than that of Andy Robertson’s at Liverpool. The French defender is posting better statistics in tackling, interceptions and dribbling, whilst not being far behind him on chances created. Robertson, however, has been superb for Liverpool and has produced an incredible 15 assists from left-back since the start of last season – compared to Hernandez’s five.
If anything, it shows that Woodgate has an eye for talent and he was spot on with Hernandez, who has seemingly grown into a top-quality left-back for Milan. Had Liverpool not found Robertson at Hull, they might have regretted not signing Hernandez, but their left-back position is now sorted with the Scotsman and Hernandez is thriving in Italy – so it has all worked out for the best.