Conor Bradley: Why is Northern Ireland teen on cusp of Liverpool first team?

The transfer window has rolled around once again, and as usual it comes with lots of rumours of comings and goings at Liverpool.

One of the bigger departure rumours seems to surround Neco Williams – the Wales international is supposedly keen to play more regularly in the Premier League and is looking for alternative options this summer.

The Reds would apparently sell for around £10m, so if someone stumps up the cash they will be needing a replacement to provide an alternative option when Trent Alexander-Arnold isn’t available.

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With Liverpool reluctant to spend in recent years, it looks as if young academy prospect Conor Bradley could fill the shoes of the outgoing Williams – but is another youngster really the answer?

Bradley started his football career with his home town club of St. Patricks Athletic where he started playing at the young age of nine.

Impressive performances saw him sign for Dungannon United Youths and Dungannon Swifts before being scouted by Liverpool and moving across the Irish Sea in 2019.

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The youngster initially signed a two-year scholarship deal with the Reds, but the following year he was handed his first professional deal after impressing coaches at Kirkby.

After catching the eye for the u18 side, Bradley has pushed his way into the u23 team. He has been a regular at that level this season, grabbing a goal and an assist in 14 matches for Barry Lewtas’ team this term.

It’s clear Bradley is well thought of by his coaches. Not many players get their chance at u23 level when they are just 17 years old, especially on such a regular basis.


Bradley is also commonly used on the international stage as well, appearing for both the u16 and u17 Northern Ireland sides before making his first team international debut in May.

He came off the bench for Leeds’ Stuart Dallas in the 85th minute to receive his first ever senior cap.

This actually meant that Bradley had played senior international football before he had player senior club football, something that is very uncommon, but which shows just how much faith his home FA has put in him.

A spot on the Liverpool bench is far from guaranteed for Bradley, however, with lots of competition in the squad – even if Williams does depart before the current transfer window closes.

Initially, it was said Joe Gomez would be the man to fill in on the right side of defence.

The former Charlton Athletic man does have some experience in the position but does lack the creativity that is now relied upon in that position.


Bradley took like a fish to water in the u23 side. If he can make the same step up to the first team then, between him and Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool will be very much set in that position for a long time to come.

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