Bobby Duncan must have overcome his mental stress now upon completion of the desired transfer to Fiorentina. Liverpool sanctioned the transfer on the European deadline day even though they wished to retain the teenager and develop his game with more care as well as intensity. The 18-year-old, meanwhile, was not confident enough to break into the Reds’ senior side, and therefore, forced a move out of his hometown club which he joined last summer from the esteemed Manchester City academy.
But the show must go on, and the Merseysiders have already identified Duncan’s potential successor to enrich their youth ranks. According to Neil Jones of Goal, Liverpool are monitoring the progress of Wigan Athletic’s 17-year-old centre-forward Joe Gelhardt who is also being chased by an array of Premier League outfits including city rivals Everton.
Emergence In Greater Manchester
The boyhood Liverpudlian joined the Latics’ academy ranks at the age of 10 and made rapid strides to grab a senior debut last season against Rotherham United at the age of 16. Gelhardt contracted until summer 2021, is regarded as one of the brightest prospects of English football and the glimpses of his excellence in that EFL Cup fixture eventually earned him his league debut away at Birmingham.
The youngster was once again involved last weekend in Wigan’s scoreless draw against Barnsley and is likely to earn more first-team minutes this term after impressing Paul Cook during pre-season. His blistering form for the Three Lions U17s (12 goals in 15 games) has led to a call-up at the U18 level this week for the first time in his career.
Why He Is Suited In Liverpool’s Set-up
The left-footed attacker is capable of featuring across the backline, and the flexibility he offers high up the pitch would help him settle in Reds’ set-up quicker than many. Gelhardt had an impressive FA Youth Cup run last season where he netted a hat-trick against Hull City before being knocked out by Liverpool in the fifth round. He is lauded for his physicality, ball control and the ability to take part in the build-ups.
I don’t really get nervous, well I do, but in a good way! It’s something I try to use to help my game rather than affect it. Rather than shy away, I like to get on the ball and express myself, and it’s going well at the moment!”
Stated the prodigy (as quoted by the Express) after finding the net against Burnley during a pre-season meeting.
Liverpool had a quiet summer but roped in a couple of highly-rated teenagers in Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott. The duo might have to stay patient to secure senior minutes, but they have been training alongside the first-team regulars. Gelhardt should try to impress the gaffer in the training ground if a move materialises in due time.
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