By Scott Taylor
Ryan McLaughlin has left Liverpool this week after five years at the club. The right-back, 21, has made just ten appearances this season, five of which were on loan at Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen, with injury disrupting his development. The Northern Ireland international joined the Reds in 2011, and was involved in the first-team’s pre-season tour of the USA a year later. After making 42 appearances for Liverpool U21s, McLaughlin has confirmed that he has left the club.
After joining from Northern Irish Premiership side Glenavon in July 2011, McLaughlin’s breakthrough season came a year later, when he was selected as part of Liverpool’s first-team squad for their pre-season tour of the USA.
It was also in that tour where McLaughlin made his unofficial debut for Liverpool, featuring the in the goalless draw against Serie ‘A’ giants AS Roma.
His summer got even better when as a 17-year-old McLaughlin was called up to the Northern Ireland senior for their friendly against Finland.
However, any potential debut was put on hold due to injury, something that turned out to be a regular occurence throughout his Liverpool career.
After impressing for the U21s, he signed a new contract with the Reds until July 2013, and was loaned out to Championship side Barnsley in January 2014, where he went on to make nine appearances in an injury-hit spell at Oakwell.
Once he regained full fitness, McLaughlin became the first Liverpool player to represent Northern Ireland in 78 years when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Uruguay in May 2014. It looked as if that cap was to be the first of many.
However, injuries again halted his progress and he joined Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen at the start of the 2015/16 season, but only made five appearances in his four-month spell at Pittodrie.
After finding game time hard to come by, he was sent back to the Kikrby Academy to work with Michael Beale and the U21s, but may minor injuries hampered his progress and was then released at the end of his contract.
Former Liverpool right-back Rob Jones, who coached McLaughlin at the Academy described the Northern Irishman as one of the best right-sided players he has ever seen and believed that he will make it if a club gives him a chance.