By Scott Taylor
Joe Maguire is the latest youngster to leave Liverpool this month, with the U23s defender joining SkyBet League One side Fleetwood Town on a two-and-a-half year deal.Pedro Chirivella has already joined Eredivisie side Go Ahead Eagles on a short-term loan, whilst Tiago Ilori is on the verge of sealing a move to Championship outfit Reading.
However, after 11 years at Liverpool, Maguire’s spell has come to an end as the left-back puts pen-to-paper on a transfer to the Football League.
After 12 unforgettable years at @LFC I’d like to say thank you to the staff, fans & players, YNWA! (1/2)
— Joe Maguire (@MaguireJoe) January 13, 2017
Maguire was another promising defender at the famous Kirkby Academy, growing up as a left-back in a defence alongside the likes of Connor Randall, Lloyd Jones and Dan Cleary, with the latter two at Swindon Town and Birmingham City respectively.
The defender made the step up to then U21 level at the start of the 2013/14 season, making his debut in the 4-3 defeat at home to Southampton.
Alongside playing for Alex Inglethorpe’s men, Maguire was amongst a select few who were in the Liverpool U19s squad to play in the UEFA Youth League, Europe’s most prestigious youth tournament.
He made seven appearances for Neil Critchley’s men, featuring against Real Madrid and Basel, and Maguire proved himself against some of the most talented youngsters.
In February 2015, the defender first played at centre-back in the 2-1 victory over Man City, a game remembered for Adam Morgan’s stunning long-range effort.
Although he continued to operate at left-back on occasions until the end of the 2014/15 season, it was becoming increasing clear that Maguire was being developed into a centre-back.
Why? Well the first-team had just started deploying a 3-4-3 formation, and Maguire was slowly moving up the pecking order under Brendan Rodgers.
His big chance came in pre-season ahead of the 2015/16 season, when he was given valuable experience in Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the Far East.
However, those chances looked to be temporarily over when Rodgers was sacked in October 2015, with Jurgen Klopp taking the reigns at Anfield.
Brad Smith was also on the verge of a first-team call up but injury restricted his progress, and the Australian is now at AFC Bournemouth. For Maguire, a change of manager halted his potential development, and he is now at Fleetwood.
Maguire has also featured as a right-back at the end of the 2015/16 season, and a fter making his debut against Man City, he was also given the honour of leading out the new generation of young players.
Those were all hopeful of achieving the same objective, to captain your boyhood club. The whole aim of the youth setup is to allow players to progress to the first-team and Maguire’s case is no different.
The full-back made his Liverpool debut against Exeter in the FA Cup in January 2016, and it could be the case that one year on, another academy graduate could achieve the same feat at a League Two ground as the Reds prepare to face Plymouth.
The full-back does have experience in the Football League, after a short-term loan spell at Leyton Orient. However, Maguire made just one appearance, that coming in their 2-1 win against Luton Town in the EFL Trophy in 2015.
Maguire leaves Liverpoola fter making 55 U23 appearances and joins a Fleetwood sit currently sitting in sixth in League One, a point inside the play-off places.