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Liverpool can learn Jude Bellingham lesson as Jürgen Klopp’sends scouts’to watch’$2m’starlet



Liverpool can learn Jude Bellingham lesson as Jürgen Klopp’sends scouts’to watch’$2m’starlet

With multiple midfielders set to depart Liverpool this summer, it would not be a major surprise to see a whole host of reinforcements duly arrive. Signing one emerging starlet could show Anfield’s recruitment chiefs have learned a major lesson.

Of course, as long-serving stars James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta head for the exit door, a whole host of potential targets have been mooted as replacement options for the Reds. Cast your mind back several months and it appeared highly likely that Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham would be the man that Liverpool would identify as a marquee signing to kickstart a new era.

However, with multiple issues within Klopp’s squad having become abundantly clear over the course of this campaign, it soon became apparent that one player would not be sufficient to plug the gaps in question. With an asking price of some $160m (£132m/€150m), according to The Athletic, Liverpool has instead turned its attentions towards making multiple signings as opposed to one blockbuster purchase.

READ MORE: Latest Liverpool injury news as four players miss Southampton and Darwin Núñez a doubt

READ MORE: Man United could make Jürgen Klopp revisit Liverpool transfer ‘promise’ as four targets emerge

Even so, it remains undeniable that Bellingham ticked a whole host of boxes for the Reds — not least due to his tender age and homegrown status. With this in mind, it does not seem unfeasible that the Merseysiders would potentially look to sign an alternative young English midfielder this summer anyway, while avoiding having to pay what would be a nine-figure fee.

The Reds could essentially cut out the middle man and look to sign an emerging talent at source, rather than having to pay another European giant a massive fee in the coming years. On balance, this would appear a more logical way of doing business — after all, Borussia Dortmund stands to make a substantial profit on the $31m (£25m/€29m) initial fee it paid Birmingham City for Bellingham back in 2020.

One prospect who has caught the eye this season is Middlesbrough starlet Hayden Hackney, who was central to his side finishing in the play-off places in the Championship this term. The 20-year-old experienced something of a breakout season in the second tier, appearing 36 times for the senior side and notching seven goal contributions in the process.

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The youngster’s rise has attracted the interest of scouts from a number of Premier League clubs, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle United having watched him at points this term, as per 90min. Another detail which one imagines will not be lost on suitors is that the Scotland U-21s star is about to enter the final year of his current contract, meaning Michael Carrick’s side may be left with little option but to cash in on the player, who is valued at $2.2m (£1.7m/€2m) by Transfermarkt.

Taking a closer look at the former Scunthorpe United loanee’s numbers from this season, it is clear why elite sides have sat up and taken notice of the talented midfielder. According to FootyStats, Hackney has an impressive pass completion rate of approximately 89 per cent, with his expected assists output coming in at roughly 0.22 per 90 minutes — above 81 per cent of the players in the Championship.

Clearly, the Redcar-born talent is a player on the rise and it is impressive that he is showing such outstanding numbers, especially when one considers that he has not yet played 50 games for his boyhood club. On top of this, the starlet has played in multiple positions during his fledgling career, including defensive midfield and the left-wing — demonstrating his tactical flexibility.

Liverpool was priced out of a deal for Bellingham ahead of this summer and it is important that the club ensures that it is more cunning in the transfer market in the future. Signing a homegrown talent this summer like Hackney would demonstrate that Anfield’s recruitment chiefs have already learned a major lesson.


Manchester United forward Russo named Player of the Year at the first ever Women’s Football Awards

Man United striker Alessia Russo named player of the year at the first ever Women’s Football Awards, with her England team-mate Keira Walsh named best international playerBarcelona and England midfielder Keira Walsh picked up international award Kane and Rice were both recognised in the Football Ally of the Year category Pundit Ian Wright was named the Women’s Football Champion of the Year

Published: 21:30 BST, 25 May 2023 | Updated: 21:36 BST, 25 May 2023

England stars Alessia Russo and Keira Walsh have both scooped major prizes at the first ever Women’s Football Awards.

Manchester United forward Russo has been named Player of the Year while Walsh, who joined Barcelona for a record fee last summer, picked up the international player award.

Russo and Walsh were both key players during the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 triumph, with Russo netting four goals while Walsh was named in the team of the tournament.

Lauren James was also one of the award winners, with Chelsea forward named Young Player of the Year alongside Liverpool’s Missy Bo Kearns.

Elsewhere, Harry Kane and Declan Rice were both recognised in the Football Ally of the Year category while Arsenal legend and pundit Ian Wright took home the Women’s Football Champion of the Year.

Manchester United and England forward Alessia Russo was named Player of the Year

Barcelona and England midfielder Keira Walsh picked up the international player award

Tottenham’s Rosella Ayane and West Ham’s Viviane Assayi paid tribute to Kane and Rice for their behind-the-scenes support of women’s football.

The star-studded event was hosted by Jamie Carragher and Eni Aluko, was the first publicly-voted ceremony to recognise all-levels of the game.

Over 20,000 public votes were cast for the winners and later ratified by an expert judging panel led by Manchester United’s Nikita Parris, Sky Sports News anchor Hayley McQueen and Real Madrid midfielder Caroline Weir.

Former Chelsea and England forward Aluko said: ‘Tonight was a highlight of my career. This was a first for women’s football and a landmark moment for the game. I am so proud to be part of this event. For the first time women’s football has got the recognition it deserved. It is even more special because the public nominated and voted for these awards.

‘To see so many amazing footballers, people, organisations and brands recognised for advancing and improving the game we love was phenomenal and I have to give thanks to our main sponsors, SHEIN, and supporting sponsors Klarna and Visa, for helping put together such a memorable night.

‘From superstar players to the grassroots organisations promoting the game in their own time, we have seen the best of the best being recognised tonight and it has been a dream come true to be part of it alongside Jamie Carragher and the Women’s Football Awards team.’

‘So many big names attended this event. It was incredible. Huge credit to all of the winners. We’re already planning for the event in 2024.’

Carragher added: ‘Eni and I have been involved in the Women’s Football Awards since day one and to feel the atmosphere in the room tonight was fantastic. This was a special event.

‘This was a true celebration of the women’s game. I am looking forward to seeing the sport continue to grow at a phenomenal rate and I’ll do what I can to help.

‘All of the winners are incredibly deserving.’

In other awards, Girls on the Ball were recognised as Journalist or Broadcaster of the Year while former Everton and Liverpool star Fern Whelan, the first Women’s Football EDI Executive for the PFA, won the Off The Pitch Award.

Harry Kane and Declan Rice collected awards for their support of women’s football

Whelan has been widely praised for her role to enhance opportunities in football for women and girls from marginalised communities.

Manchester Laces were recognised with Grassroots Initiative of the Year for their work in encouraging participation in women’s football, while broadcaster and Women’s Super League Hall of Fame star Karen Carney was given a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award as the final gong of the night. Her award was presented by Olympic gold medalist Sally Gunnell.

Former England captain Carol Thomas, who captained the Lionesses to the 1984 European final, was presented with a special recognition award.

Thomas is considered a pioneer of the women’s game and captained England in seven tournaments, winning two of them, including the Home Internationals of 1976 and the invitational 1985 Mundialito — known as the Little World Cup.

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