After arriving from Rangers in the summer of 2010, Liverpool centre back Danny Wilson has spent most of his time either in the reserves or out on loan, spending time at Blackpool, Bristol City, and now Scottish side Hearts while waiting for a chance to break through at his parent club. With only months left in his contract, it appears increasingly likely that chance will never come.
"It's going to be difficult for me to have a future at Liverpool," Wilson admitted to BBC Sport. "They have four centre-halves battling for two places [and] I haven't been able to force my way in. Right now, I'm just happy to be here at Hearts. I've been given an opportunity and I need to take it."
Before moving to Liverpool, Wilson was perhaps the brightest prospect in Scottish football. At just 17 years of age he was the youngest Rangers player to compete in the Champions League, he anchored Rangers' defence against rivals Celtic, and he won young player of the year honours in the Scottish Premier League. He was dubbed the next Alan Hansen and most expected him to anchor the national side for at least a decade.
Then he headed to Anfield, and nothing has quite gone right for Wilson ever since. The player, however, insists that it was the right move for him to make, and that despite a lack of playing time and that the end of his spell at Liverpool appears in sight he believes it was a move that has made him a better player.
"I haven't played as much as I'd hoped but the move served its purpose," he insisted. "I left to become a better player and I feel I have done that. I've been playing against better players in training, guys like Luis Suarez, and you can only learn from that. I just want to put that into practice in games now."
As for his future, though Wilson claims to only be focused on the present, a move back to Scotland—and maybe even to Hearts where he's now on loan—seems increasingly likely. And regardless of where he ends up, remaining at Liverpool now seems just about the least likely option.
"I've not played a lot of football recently, so I'm not thinking too much about the future, just the here and now. I can't just come here and think I'm going to be here for the next few years. I need to earn that right."