By Scott Taylor
Corey Whelan has signed his first professional contract with Premier League side Liverpool. The defender, 18, signed for the club as an U10 after leaving Crewe Alexandra, and has since gone on to make appearances for the U18s and the U21s. After being a crucial part of both of these sides, the Irishman has out pen to paper on his first professional contract.
Whelan made his debut for Neil Critchley’s U18s in the 2013/14 season, playing primarily as a central defender. However, since then, he has been known to play as a full-back if required, but that has been more notably for Michael Beale’s U21s.

He made his debut for the U21s as a 17-year-old in April 2015, playing the full 90 minutes in the Reds’ 3-1 win at Tottenham. He since gone on to make 11 appearances so far this season, starting in seven of those games. His last game for Liverpool came five days ago, when a strong side drew 1-1 with Manchester United.

He has also been a key figure for the U18s this season, helping them qualify for the play-off stages of the U18s Premier League. Alongside Conor Masterson and Michel Parker, he helped the Reds progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup. He did suffer an ankle injury earlier this season, which kept him sidelined for six weeks, but made his comeback in the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal in March.

Whelan has also played for the Reds’ U19s side in the UEFA Youth League, one of Europe’s best youth competitions, making seven appearances. In those games, he has played against team such as Benfica and Real Madrid. In addition to this,  he has made three appearances for Republic of Ireland’s U17s, making his debut in October 2013 in the 2-0 win over Armenia.

He may feature for the U21s later this evening when they take on West Ham in the semi-finals of the U21 Premier Cup semi-finals.