By Lewis Rooke – @LV_Rooke
For young players, football is a just a huge game of snakes and ladders – just with many more slippery serpents than rungs to climb.
Many prospects have been sucked down the hype sinkhole, reaching their peaks early on in the academy while others go on to scale even higher heights at the pinnacle of world football.
But what does the future hold for Liverpool-lad Bobby Duncan? Well as it turns out, the 17-year-old has been making waves for the under 18’s under Barry Lewtas – scoring an impressive eight goals in 10 appearances.
His performances have even caught the attention of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, who are looking to recruit the “next Jadon Sancho” who has taken the German league by storm.
Duncan, the cousin of Reds legend Steven Gerrard no less, emigrated from the same Manchester City academy as Sancho before making the switch to Liverpool in the summer, so the young Scouser has no shortage of reputation to live up to. The question is, does he have the ability to step up that crucial level?
Whilst not especially blessed with a significant amount of pace nor physical strength, Duncan has struck up a wonderful understanding with fellow striker Paul Glatzel, who has an even more impressive record of 10 goals in nine under-18 Premier League games this season, but it is Duncan who has caught the gaze of the Bavarian side.
With an uncanny ability to read developing play, Bobby Duncan has a comparable skillset to former Red prodigy Adam Morgan. Morgan, still only 24, now finds himself plying his trade in the sixth tier of English football with Curzon Ashton in the National League North. After being touted as the new Robbie Fowler even as recently as 2014, Morgan’s career has been in free fall since leaving Anfield.
This is not to say that Duncan will follow the same path, far from it. Young English players, for once, are finally being recognised on the continent – with many prodigies previously having to find their big break in English football, many are now branching across Europe to enhance their game.
With Jadon Sancho the poster-boy for the young and British success story, this indicates the vast increase in quality sitting in the academy of Premier League teams compared to just five years ago, showing players they are no longer destined to filter down the English football pyramid.
Bayern Munich’s envious glances are of no consequence. Desperate to find the heir to an ageing Robert Lewandowski, the German side believe that Duncan can be groomed in the same way as Sancho to fill the prolific Polishman’s void should his undoubted talents wane. This should be taken as a positive for Liverpool, that the cream of Europe’s crop want our young talent.
So sit back, and enjoy the trajectory of this exciting young man as he continues to rattle the net in the youth leagues, safe in the knowledge that he will get his chance should his attitude match his talent. We’ve seen Trent Alexander-Arnold graduate from the world-famous academy recently, Bobby Duncan could well be the next.