Why this young talent has just one more year to prove he can make it at Liverpool

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Liverpool defender Danny Wilson is entering the final year of his 3-year contract with the Anfield club. He has failed to establish himself in the first team since signing from Rangers in a £2 million move in the summer of 2010. The valuation was arrived at by taking into account both the personal accolades he had accumulated in Scotland and the obvious potential he had demonstrated in achieving them.

He made 24 appearances for Rangers in the 2009-10 season, including becoming the youngest player to appear for Rangers in the Champions League, and won the SFA Young Player of the Year award. But those who questioned the wisdom of his move from Rangers have, to a certain extent, been proved correct.

Had he stayed at Ibrox he could have anticipated much more playing time over the past two seasons and would arguably have developed more than by being a squad player at a team in a better league. Rangers fans were understandably eager for him to stay because he was quite clearly a superb player, the kind of young talent they feel, rightly or wrongly, the club isn’t producing enough of. His poise and ball distribution from central defence against Stuttgart in the Champions League distinguished him in what was a poor performance in a poor European campaign.


Like fellow Scot Charlie Adam, there seems to be some belief that he will have been hit especially hard by the departure of Kenny Dalglish. Why this should be the case, when Dalglish was obviously not inclined to give Wilson an extended run in the first team, is unclear. In all likelihood in rests on the lazy assumption that some affinity existed purely because the three individuals were Scots at an English club. In an interview with Daily Record he was complimentary about Dalglish but hardy gave the impression of dwelling on his departure. He said: ‘It was a blow as I really liked Kenny as a manager and as a person. But the club felt a change was needed and we’ll all have to move on.’ The arrival of Brendan Rodgers might herald a new beginning for Wilson.

His calmness and ability to play the ball out of defence are attributes that should recommend him to Rodgers and the lauded style of play he cultivates in his teams. But Wilson is conscious that a change of manager does not necessarily signal a change in his own fortunes. He said: ‘You don’t know what he’s going to be like or what he’s going to do. All you can do is try to impress him and be as ready as you can for the start of the season.’

This caution is a product of the disappointment that has characterised his time in English football. Having struggled to establish himself at Liverpool, he joined Championship club Blackpool on loan in January 2012 but seemingly fell out of favour with manager Ian Holloway after his first ten games. Time is still on his side and it is important to remember that he is still only 20-years-old. Expectations, which were too high and probably burdensome, have been recalibrated and this might allow him the room to flourish. However, another season in purgatory will mean that this promising young Scottish player will have essentially lost three years of development at a crucial stage of his career. If that were to happen then there would be a risk that he could join the ranks of those Scottish players who have failed, for a variety of reasons, to build on the promise they displayed at the start of their careers.

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  • Vialli says:

    Think a la Arsenal, we (LFC) should adopt a team for Carling Cup and some F.A Cup games (if they are against Championship or lower)

    Wilson, Shelvey, Suso, Sterling, Robinson, Wisdom should all be starters and probably the only way they can gain proper first team football for Liverpool. Having 5 – 10 minute sub appearances are great for graduating into the 1st team squad but really for game time playing 90 minutes in a cup game would be better.

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