Over the last few weeks I have seen endless negative reports on Cameron Brannagan, most quickly forgetting that the very same media outlets were writing about him as a sensation, scouted by Real Madrid and Barcelona only a short time ago. One of the most recent has referred to young Cameron, as a peripheral figure.
Some go as far as to suggest his time at Liverpool may be up. So let’s take a look at what has happened in that time, and try and understand why.
In the early days of his tenure at Liverpool Klopp regularly sang his praises.
“For his age, he brings everything you need for a midfield player,” Klopp told reporters after Brannagan extended his deal with the Reds in October 2015, just weeks after the German’s arrival as manager. “He wants to play football, he’s strong, he’s clear, he’s cool.”
The then u23s manager Michael Beale, wrote in his academy column.
“He has been at this club since the age of five, and it was a proud moment for him and his family when he made his Liverpool debut in Europe. The staff really believe in him, and it really was an outstanding moment when he made his debut,” he continued. “What I would urge him to do now is kick on, try to get his first start and move on from there, but I certainly believe in Cameron as a football player and I know how highly he is thought of by the staff.”
Cameron did then make his Premier League debut vs West Brom and continued to feature in Klopps plans. As other youngster went out on loan in Ryan Kent, Danny Ward, Jack Dunn and Lloyd Jones to name but a few, it was widely reported that Wigan Athletic were close to taking him on loan, while numerous other Premier League and Championship clubs were waiting in the wings for his services, including Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Bournemouth.
Unfortunately though, all clubs at this level were forced out of a move because of the terms of the loan, Liverpool demanding a 75% game time clause. Understandably Wigan and others didn’t feel they could guarantee that. Wigan did offer 50%, but we refused. Personally I don’t think it’s fair on the other players or Cam himself to be contractually obligated to play in the majority of games for his first big chance away from Liverpool.
Anyway the point is no loan move materialised, because of Liverpool’s lack of desire to budge on that rather poignant clause. At that point young Cameron was dedicated to forcing his way into Klopp’s plans and was quoted on Liverpool’s official website saying…
“I’m here to be called upon, when I’m at Melwood, I’ve just got to keep trying to impress the manager as much as I can. Even when I’m training at the Academy, I’ve got to try to impress the manager and the U23s training staff. We will see where that takes me.”
But, Brannagan is yet to feature for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool this season, failing to even make the substitutes’ bench in any of their league or EFL Cup clashes so far.
So what have we missed… what is it we don’t know?
Rumour around the club is that just before deadline day, after missing out on moves to Premier League and Championship clubs, Alex Inglethorpe informed Cameron that he would be going to Swindon Town on Loan for the season. Clearly he refused that move.
The same day he was sent back to the academy to train with the u23s and has not once been involved since that day.
Although being the standout performer in every u23s game so far, scoring seven goals and assisting a handful so far. Klopp is still yet to involve him in a 1st team squad, including the cup games. Is this a coincidence?
Or is Cameron Brannagan being punished?
If so, is he being punished for wanting to join a Premier League club instead of a struggling League 1 club?
Yet while everyone is writing him off, stating he’s behind Ejaria and Ojo and suggesting he’s not good enough, the lad himself is getting his head down and performing excellently week in week out to try and prove that he was right to not want to join Swindon.
Do we want to risk losing one of our best young talents because of his desire to be at the top level?
In my opinion, he is well within his rights to be frustrated, he absolutely is allowed to not want to waste a year of his career playing with 18th placed in League One side, Swindon Town when he could be getting vital experience in the Premier League with Middlesbrough or under Eddie Howe at Bournemouth.
Why is nobody asking Klopp the question…? Where is Cameron Brannagan?!
Author of the article: Callum Wright, follow him on twitter: @Mr_CallumWright