Sir Kenny Dalglish met Ben Doak for all of 30 seconds last year – but wants Liverpool and Scotland’s rising star to know he has decades of wisdom to offer, should he ever need it.

That’s the thing, though: Dalglish has a feeling he’s going to do just fine on his own at Anfield.

Scottish players cracking the Premier League has become commonplace in recent years. Andy Robertson already has a winners’ medal to his name, and he could well be joined in that elite group by Kieran Tierney come season’s end.

But while Doak is still very much serving his apprenticeship on Merseyside, there is a growing feeling that the 17-year-old winger is potentially something special. Scotland has produced full-backs and midfielders aplenty for the national team of late, but an undoubtedly improving talent pool has still just lacked a true gamechanger at the top end of the pitch.

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It is early days for the former Celtic academy prospect, of course. He may not be ready to put Mo Salah on the bench just yet, but Liverpool icon Dalglish has been impressed thus far.

“The wee man has done well since going there,” Dalglish said. “He’s only 17 but he’s already been on the pitch with the first team. He’s got good vision, he can go past players and he’s not selfish. He’s always looking for teammates.

“It’s asking a lot at 17 to go in there with a Premier League team on a regular basis but when he’s been in there he’s done all right. It might be a bit difficult to drop Mo Salah for the wee man right now!

“But if he does things right, he’ll be recognised. He’s had a few wee cameos and Klopp wouldn’t put him in if he wasn’t impressed.

“He doesn’t need headlines right away but he’s doing well. Spoke to him for about 30 seconds one day when we were leaving the training ground.

“I just said to him, ‘do you want a lift?!’ He was good as gold. He’s settled in and he has people looking after him. It’s important he’s happy and content, as the better he’ll be on the pitch.

“He doesn’t need my help but if he does he can always give me a shout. They young lads get very well looked after at Liverpool.”

Dalglish himself was handed his Celtic bow by Jock Stein when he too was only 17, but points out the was able to enjoy the home comforts of Glasgow until 26. Doak, by contrast, left Scotland for Merseyside while he was young enough to still be at school.

That can’t be an easy adjustment for any youngster, but Dalglish is confident he’s doing it in the best environment possible.

“We were 10-2 up, and 4-0 up at half time, big Jock put me on,” he recalled of his own early debut. “I thought he was taking a chance!

“Obviously, ability helps at that age - but Doak wouldn’t be there in the first place if he didn’t have that, would he? He’s got to settle down.

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“At 17, he’s moved away from home. I didn’t have to do that. I didn’t do that until I was 26.

“So, he’s just got to go down there, settle, be happy in the digs he’s in and take it from there. If he gets a bit homesick then it’s understandable.

“He’s just got to front it up, go and mention it to somebody and they’ll help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, that’s the most important thing. You don’t need to be afraid, either, do you? The boys are there, they all seem to be decent fellas.

The Herald: Ben DoakBen Doak (Image: SNS)

“It was the same when I was 17, Danny McGrain was 18, and we trained with the first team. Everyone just trained together.

“They were brilliant with us, like calming you down and encouraging you. They were the Lisbon Lions. They won five trophies in the one season, didn’t they?

“So, I’m sure the boys at Liverpool - especially Robbo - would look upon  it as being responsible for a wee Scottish boy, a Glaswegian, and look after him.

“The quicker he settles down the better it will be — and he seems to have settled down pretty quickly because on the pitch he’s half decent.”

We aren’t short on exports these days, but the lack of Scottish Premiership representation in the latest Scotland squad did not go unnoticed last week. Of the 24 chosen by manager Steve Clarke to face Cyprus and Spain, only two – Callum McGregor and Ryan Jack - still ply their trade at home.

This was presented as a damning indictment of the quality of the nation’s top-flight, but Dalglish does not necessarily see it that way. Instead, the 72-year-old prefers the narrative that we are simply producing better players these days, and that is always going to attract cash-rich suitors from England and beyond.

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“The players Steve Clarke has got to choose from, a lot more of them are playing at a higher level than when he came in at the beginning,” Dalglish said. “I know Bruges got battered in the Champions League but they’ve got Jack Hendry from there who can come in. They never had that before. Or the boy Aaron Hickey, who was in Italy and is now at Brentford.

‘The level the players are at has improved the quality available to Steve.”

Still, though, just two from the Premiership?

“But he’s a good one, Callum,” Dalglish insisted. “The league up here is going better. Ryan Christie went to Bournemouth. I don’t know how many games he played but he came on as sub against Liverpool.

“The fact there are only two outfield players from the Premiership in the Scotland squad is only because others have been so successful here and they have moved on.

“The Premier League was the best commercially for a few years and now with the money they have got they go out and buy the best players. Not all the best players but a lot of top quality players.

‘If you look at the recent Champions League finals there is usually an English Premier League side there. That tells you that they have got high quality and the league probably is one of the best — if not the best — in world football. That’s got to be good for us.”

Kenny Dalglish was promoting Viaplay’s live and exclusive coverage of Scotland v Cyprus and Scotland v Spain. Viaplay is available to stream from or via your TV provider on Sky, Virgin TV and Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.