Flanagan and Coady Named in England U20 World Cup Squad

Tom Szczerbowski

A busy month of June is about to kick off for international tournaments across the globe, and England U20 boss Peter Taylor confirmed that he'll be taking two of Liverpool's youngsters along to Turkey.

With Jack Robinson's promotion to the U21 squad for the Euros in Israel, Liverpool were left with the possibility of having two representatives at the U20 World Cup--both of Conor Coady and Jon Flanagan were named in head coach Peter Taylor's provisional squad, and while the latter had missed much of the second half of the season through injury, there was a good chance that both would be taking part in the trip to Turkey. Taylor confirmed as much earlier in the week, naming both to his final squad ahead of their preparations for their first competitive match on June 23 against Iraq.

As was the case with the three--Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, and Andre Wisdom--that eventually became four with the addition of Robinson, it's a chance at some meaningful competition during the typically dry summer months. Neither of Coady nor Flanagan were afforded as much opportunity in Liverpool's first-team, as Coady seemed to stall after a couple of seasons on the cusp of breaking through and Flanagan suffered the aforementioned injury just before sealing a loan deal in January.

Their trials this summer will be interesting enough to watch, as both should see minutes across a fixture list that at a minimum includes fixtures against Chile and Egypt to go along with their opener against Iraq. What's even more intriguing from a club perspective is how they fit into Brendan Rodgers' plans for next season; Flanagan came on in a flash at the tail end of the 2010-2011 season and seemed set for a long future before stumbling badly out of the gates to start 2011-2012, and, as noted, Coady has yet to find a way through after appearing to be next in line.

Prior to last season I'd felt that it was make-or-break time for Coady, and while it was nice to see him make his Premier League debut, there's still the sense that he's going to have to make a hell of an impression over the next few months to get himself noticed in a crowded midfield. The same applies to Flanagan to a slightly lesser extent--hopefully Liverpool add depth at fullback this summer, but even if they don't, both Andre Wisdom and Martin Kelly have passed him by, and he's going to have plenty to do to get into the squad on a regular basis.

Fitness and form could open the door next season, but it wouldn't be surprising to see both shopped for short-term or season-long loans to gain regular minutes with a team in the Championship or League One, and from there we'll have to wait to see how their respective Liverpool futures pan out. For now, though, we can wish them well for England, and hope that their time in Turkey holds both playing time and success.

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