Joey Barton says he is delighted to have Liverpool starlet Jarell Quansah after securing him on a loan deal at Bristol Rovers for the remainder of the season.
The Gas had been in need of a centre-back after the sale of Alfie Kilgour to Mansfield Town, as well as the return of Bobby Thomas to Burnley and his swift loan move to Barnsley. Rovers had been in the market for a defender to rectify an issue that has cost them dearly in matches this season which is a leaky defence.
Despite a positive campaign so far that has them situated in mid-table and just six-points off of the League One play-offs, they have the fourth worst defence with only Forest Green, Burton Albion and Cambridge United conceding more than them. Barton had warned his players at the start of the month that reinforcements would be sought and a three-week search which included a scouting trip to Liverpool, ended up with the arrival of Quansah.
Quansah has moved away from Liverpool for the first loan spell of his career and he comes highly recommended after training with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both in pre-season and during Liverpool's warm weather training camp. The 19-year-old had been due to make his debut against Wycombe Wanderers last week but the match was postponed as a result of a frozen pitch which has allowed him longer to settle in before he makes his senior debut.
In the build-up to the Morecambe match, former Premier League midfielder Barton has been impressed with what he has seen so far. Rovers have utilised the loan market under Barton and he expressed his gratitude to the red half of the city for allowing them to take their player off their hands for the remainder of the campaign.
"He’s just a really good passer of the football," said Barton. Obviously, he’s been brought in to be a defender, but we want to control the ball and we want to play and it’s important that our defenders are capable of breaking lines and handling the ball.
"On the flip side of that, he’s got really good qualities and when you’ve been training with Liverpool’s first team, being in and around that picture, the next step in your progression is to get out and have regular men’s football. Thankfully, Liverpool have trusted us with this stage of his development and we’re absolutely delighted to have him.”
Quansah was a player that the former Newcastle United midfielder was willing to put the time in to see if he was a right fit for the football club. Barton a day after Rovers' EFL Trophy defeat to Plymouth Argyle travelled up to Liverpool to attend their Under-21's match with Paris Saint-Germain.
He was in attendance along with Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe, and liked what he saw from the defender. Quansah was substituted in the 80th minute and six minutes later PSG scored two goals in seven minutes, losing their clean sheet, but there was no blemish on the England Under-19 international, who had not conceded a goal when he was on the pitch.
Barton said: "Liverpool always have good talent coming through their age groups and sometimes when you’re in a spot where you know players are going to be available, you can watch clips of them and you can talk about them and speak to coaches, but nothing beats watching them live and getting your eyes on them.
"For us, to see him play in that arena and see how he moved and all those types of things were very important because we don’t have an abundance of loans and you’ve got to make sure the ones that you take are right for playing in your style. For us, we think Jarell absolutely is."