'When, not if' Bradley gets in Liverpool team - Charles

5 months ago 79
Conor BradleyBradley joined Liverpool from Dungannon United in 2019
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It is a matter of when and not if Conor Bradley breaks into the Liverpool first team, his Northern Ireland team-mate Dion Charles has said.

Charles and Bradley were also club colleagues last season while the 20-year-old full-back had an impressive loan spell at Bolton Wanderers.

He returned to Anfield in the summer but injury has prevented him from adding to his five Liverpool appearances.

"Conor is incredible," Charles said.

"Conor can go as far as he wants. That kid has everything, he's intelligent, such a good player.

"The biggest thing about his mentality is he wants to learn, he wants to get better, so when he's back fit it will be interesting to see not if, but when, he gets in the Liverpool team."

Having signed for Liverpool as a teenager in September 2019, Bradley fought his way into the wider first-team panel and played five times for Jurgen Klopp's side before his loan move to Bolton.

He made 53 appearances for the League One club, helping them win the Papa Johns Trophy while also scooping Bolton's Young Player, Players' Player and Player of the Season awards.

Klopp said in April that the Dungannon United graduate would get a chance to break into his starting line-up this season but his progress has been curtailed by a back injury.

As a right-back who can also play in a more advanced midfield role, Bradley would likely need to dislodge England international Trent Alexander-Arnold from the side to get a starting berth - but Charles has backed him to do that.

"The type of character Conor is, he'll be with him [Alexander-Arnold] every single day, brushing shoulders with them, so it's only going to make him better for the future," said Charles, who is preparing for Northern Ireland's final two Euro 224 qualifiers against Finland and Denmark.

"When Conor first came to Bolton he hadn't played much senior football and he played like a 30-year-old. He plays like someone so experienced. Conor is incredible."

Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool manager impressed with Conor Bradley's development

Bradley has made a strong impact as an international footballer since making his debut as a 17-year-old in May 2021, with his dynamic, all-action style already making him a favourite amongst the Northern Ireland supporters.

He started all three of his country's opening three Euro 2024 qualifiers and was one of the better performers for O'Neill but has missed the last five games through injury - and continues to be absent for this double-header.

He has won 13 international caps and Charles, who himself has played 19 times for his country, is keen to see his former Bolton team-mate return to the Northern Ireland fold.

"Conor has been a big miss, he would be a big miss for any team," Charles added.

"The type of player he is, especially when he was at Bolton, when Conor is on the ball you feel like he is going to do something and it's always great to have a player like that around us.

"He's quiet, keeps himself to himself but he's a good kid."

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