Hello and Welcome to Kirkby Revisited, a show where I review all the latest news from Liverpool’s Academy from the past week. Some reviews may be long, some reviews may be short, it all depends on what has happened in that week.
Smith earns Under 21s call up
Liverpool youngster Brad Smith last week earned a well deserved call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England Under 21 squad for the Toulon Cup, where they face Qatar, Brazil, South Korea and Columbia in Group B of the annual tournament. The Australian born left-back,19, has had a season to remember by earning a first team call up in the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on December 29.
Academy Youngsters Make Senior Debuts
A total of 6 Under 21 players made their first team debut for Brendan Rodgers’ side last week, as the Reds ended off what was a remarkable season with a 4-0 win against League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers. Defenders Jordan Williams, Rafa Paez and Connor Randall were among those to make their 1st appearance in the red of Liverpool. Next midfielders Cameron Brannagan and Kristoffer Peterson worked well in partnership with forward Jack Dunn, who in fact scored Liverpool’s 4th and final goal as the trio also celebrated their first team debuts.
Under 18 defender seals Bristol City move
Liverpool Under 18 defender Jack Alexander has officially moved to League One side Bristol City. The right-back, who made his Under 18s debut this season was considered surplus to requirements with the Reds and so moved to Bristol City. It was an unfortunate time for the Scotland youth international to be at Liverpool, considering the Reds have Glen Johnson, Andre Wisdom, Ryan McLaughlin, Connor Randall and Dahrius Waldron all above him in the pecking order. The move could also see Jack Batten coming the other way.
Hodzic joins Dinamo Zagreb from Liverpool
Liverpool U21 striker Armin Hodzic today signed a 5 year deal with Dinamo Zagreb. He has spent the last two years old loan to Bosnian Premier League side FK Zeljeznicar where he originally was signed from. The 19 year old striker has scored 14 goals this season and in doing so becoming the league 2nd top scorer. Hodzic also had a slim chance of making Bosnia and Herzegovina’s world cup squad, which goes to show how talented this youngster is. To let him go on a free is just criminal by the Reds. Hodzic was still part of Liverpool’s plans and they wanted to send him back out on loan to Belgium to a better standard of football.
McLaughlin earns Northern Ireland call-up
Liverpool Under 21 right back Ryan McLaughlin has been called up to Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland squad for their upcoming fixtures against Uruguay and Chile. The Northern Irishman has been on loan at Barnsley recently, but injury hampered his development with the Yorkshire based club. In other international news, goalkeeper Danny Ward was on the bench for Wales Under 21s and they lost 3-1 to England at the Liberty Stadium.
Thanks for taking the time to read this weekly feature on my blog, and for more content on Liverpool’s Under 21s and Under 18s then simply keep an eye out on the blog http://www.thenextgenkopites.wordpress.com. Finally, for more day-to-day Academy updates on all things Liverpool FC, then be sure to follow me on Twitter (@ScottTaylorUK).