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Phoenix Rising defender Whelan proud to have been coached by Klopp at Liverpool

Phoenix Rising defender Corey Whelan has nothing but good things to say about Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Whelan, recruited from Crewe Alexandra's academy as a junior, spent 12 years with Liverpool before leaving last year for United Soccer Leagues (USL) outfit Phoenix Rising - a club part-owned by Chelsea great Didier Drogba.

And given his background, the 22 year-old is in a position to consider the impact Klopp has made on Liverpool since his appointment five years ago. And for Whelan, when it comes to his former manager, what we all see from the outside is the same as he experienced day-in, day-out at Melwood.

Whelan told "It was a great experience for me. I learnt a lot from him (Klopp). He speaks to young lads, he treats everybody equal. He doesn't treat van Dijk any different to how he would a young lad.

"He's very good with player management and he knows what gets the best out of his players it was definitely a good experience working under him. He's obviously a manager that I'm proud to say he's coached me at some stage in my career."

Whelan never managed to make his debut with the Reds, instead developing his football away on-loan with Crewe and Yeovil Town, but he valued the times he was called up by Klopp to train with the senior squad.

And working alongside Virgil van Dijk is something he treasures: "I trained with van Dijk quite a bit at the back end of my career at Liverpool.

"I went to Marbella with them before the Champions League final, and I got to experience and see it up close, which you can learn a lot from, whether it be a week being there or just the way he acts on and off the pitch, even down to the things he does when he's not playing, you actually take a lot from it."

Whelan, a Republic of Ireland U21 international, is now waiting for news from the USL about how soccer will be resumed in the 'States after the coronavirus suspension.

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