By Scott Taylor
Brendan Rodgers should learn from his mistakes with Steven Gerrard and offer playmaker Cameron Brannagan a new contract. The Liverpool captain, 34, will leave the Reds at the end of the season in a deal which sees him join MLS side LA Galaxy. Midfielder Brannagan, 18, has a contract with Liverpool which expires on 30 June, and Rodgers should put all the stops out to try and keep his young prodigy.
The Liverpool boss faces a case of the past, the present and the future. He has already let a player who is in the back end of his career in the form of Gerrard go , as well as letting present player Suso leave from AC Milan for free. The Northern Irishman must not let a third talented player leave for nothing, after 13 years of service to the club.
Brannagan joined the Reds’ Academy at the end of five and has been performing on a consistent basis for Liverpool ever since. At the end of the 2012/13 season, Brannagan was just a squad player in the Under 18s, playing in a more defensive position when he did play. Just 6 months later, he found himself as a regular in Alex Inglethorpe’s Under 21s side, represented England at Under 18 level and has made the substitute’s bench for the first team.
He nows play in the number 10 role for the Under 21s, showing his real quality against players up to three years older than him. He had experience of playing against European sides, playing and scoring against PSV last season. He went on a run where he became the sides joint top scorer when he went on a run of scoring five goals in a short period of time.
This earned him a call-up to the England Under 18s side, and like he did in his Under 21 side, he made the number 10 position his own with a string of assists. His performances for club and country earned him his first professional contract with Liverpool, which he signed in November 2013.
Once the youngster signed his first new deal, this allowed him to not worry about his future and play without fear and with confidence. After multiple impressive performances afterwards, Rodgers started to take notice and rewarded the youngster with a place on the substitutes bench against Oldham in the FA Cup in January 2014.
Due to the first team qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, the Under 19s side played in the UEFA Youth League. This is another benefit for Brannagan, especially after playing against an academy like Real Madrid’s. After starring in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Real Madrid earlier in the season, the Spanish side’s directors thought that he was Spanish, because of his style of play and his fluidity on the ball. Following Real Madrid’s interest, fellow La Liga side Barcelona then declared interest in the player, meaning the player is all but guaranteed a bright future in the game.
With just six months remaining on his contract, and with teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid publicly declaring interest in the starlet, Rodgers and Inglethorpe must do everything they can to stop another star in the making leaving the club.