Cameron Brannagan is playing for Liverpool this season. He was not sent out on loan like so many other of his Academy colleagues. No, Brannagan has stayed. The 20-year-old midfield hopeful was retained by Jürgen Klopp for the upcoming campaign and the young, Englishman is eager for the chances that should come his way over the course of the next 9 months.
“I’ve just got to keep working hard,” Brannagan said. “If the manager needs me, I’m here to be called upon.”
Brannagan has been called into big league action nine times now for Liverpool. Is that right? It seems like it was more somehow. But also less, maybe, in a way? The fresh-faced midfielder always appears confident and calm on the ball when given a shot. And you know when he’s out there on the pitch we’re all glad to see him. We hope for more chances to see him. But we also know we’re seeing someone at the start of their fantastic voyage into the first team. We are witnessing progress by all appearances but growth, as Klopp is always reminding us, requires patience. Brannagan’s opportunities are arriving sporadically at the beginning but by being intent and malleable his odds for more opportunities will increase. And he will even have to keep dazzling at the lower level in order to continue on with his forays into Melwood.
“The U23 games are coming up,” said Brannagan, “and I’ve just got to keep playing well in those and trying to show what I can do.
It’s a valuable lesson for young players to be called on sparingly. By doing so the young player on the rise gets a taste of the big show and the manager builds their confidence through that experience but also builds their desire for more. More bright lights. More big city. Sometimes, medium-sized city.
Jürgen Klopp will want Brannagan to learn first-hand what it takes mentally and physically to play in the Premier League and then to set his mind to accomplishing those things.
“Playing last season just gives you the incentive that you want to play more,” he said.
Brannagan knows that the road to the first team is long. He probably feels like he’s been driving on it forever. You know, if it was me, I’d probably have a friend along to help drive but that’s not Cameron Brannagan’s style. Cameron Brannagan’s style is putting in the time and being ready for it when it comes. This should also be his catchphrase.
“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.”