It looks set to be another quiet summer for Liverpool in the transfer market.
Despite winning the Premier League, the coronavirus pandemic has left the club’s finances uncertain. That much could be seen when the Reds decided not to pursue their long-term interest in Timo Werner instead allowing him to join rivals, Chelsea.
The champions may well be looking towards a batch of talented young players to make the step up to first-team football. The likes of Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Rhian Brewster have all come through Liverpool’s academy and will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher and, more recently, Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But not all youth prospects are good enough to make the grade.
Take Liverpool’s successful 2006/07 FA Youth Cup winning side, for example. Liverpool beat Manchester United in the final on penalties - a United side consisting of the likes of Danny Drinkwater and Danny Welbeck.
But only two of those players in that squad managed to make first-team appearances, while others were lucky to even have a career in the football league.
So, 13 years on, let’s take a look at Liverpool’s FA Youth Cup winning squad and ask: ‘Where are they now?’
Goalkeeper | Martin Hansen
The Danish goalkeeper returned to his native country to play for Viborg and Nordsjaelland before moving to the Netherlands to represent ADO Den Haag.
A spell in Germany with FC Inglostadt followed before stints at Basel in Switzerland and Stromsgodset in Norway. In January, he signed for Bundesliga 2 side, Hannover 96 but is yet to make an appearance.
Defender | Stephen Darby
Sadly, Darby retired from football at the age of 29 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
He made six first-team appearances for Liverpool while enjoying loan spells at Swindon, Notts Country and Rochdale. He left for Bradford in 2012 before finishing his career at Bolton, where he made three appearances before being forced to retire.
Defender | Michael Burns
Burns left Liverpool following their FA Youth Cup win to join Bolton - but failed to make the grade.
He then went to Carlisle, Stafford Rangers, Newport Country, Guiseley, Vauxhall Motors and was last seen playing for Gap Connah’s Quay in Wales back in 2014.
Defender | Jay Spearing
Spearing has played the majority of his professional career in a defensive midfield role but was used as a defender for Liverpool’s youth side. Without a doubt, the most successful player from this squad, playing 55 times for the first-team. But he was no Steven Gerrard.
He played more than 150 times for Bolton - who he signed for in 2013 - in the Championship and League One before a move to Blackpool. He’s spent the last three campaigns at the Seasiders but failed to agree a new deal at the end of the 2019/20 season and, as a 31-year-old, is without a club.
Defender | Robbie Threlfall
Like many others in this successful Liverpool youth side, Threlfall failed to make the step up to first-team football.
He did play for Bradford and Morecombe in the football league but that was as good as his professional career got. He stepped down to play semi-professionally at Marine during the 2016/17 season but left the club in January 2017.
Midfielder | Charlie Barnett
Barnett moved across Merseyside to sign for Tranmere, where he spent two seasons before moving to Accrington Stanley. In 2013, he signed for AFC Telford but, after 17 appearances, was released.
He did sign for non-league Marine but we’re not sure what happened after that.
Midfielder | Jimmy Ryan
Ryan has enjoyed a career in the football league with Shrewsbury, Accrington Stanley, Scunthorpe, Chesterfield, Fleetwood, Blackpool and now at Rochdale in League One.
Midfielder | Ryan Flynn
Flynn signed for Falkirk following a successful loan spell, playing two seasons in the Scottish Premier League. Five years at Sheffield United when they were back in League One followed, before a switch to Oldham.
He’s now back in Scotland with St Mirren in Scotland’s top-flight.
Midfielder | Ray Putterill
Putterill was actually named on Liverpool’s bench for League Cup match against Reading back in 2007. But, again, he failed to make an appearance. He did play in the Football League briefly for Accrington Stanley and Rochdale but spent most of his career playing local football for the likes of Essemmay OB, Waterloo Dock and Formby.
He last played for Aigburth Peoples Hall.
Striker | Craig Lindfield
Lindfield was a member of Liverpool’s 2008 Dallas Cup squad and was the tournament’s top goalscorer with six goals. Unfortunately, he had a double hernia operation soon afterwards and was released before he played a competitive match.
He was another player who joined Accrington Stanley later in his career as well as Marine.
But in January 2020, he joined Runcorn Linnets who play in the Northern Premier League Division One North West.
Striker | Lee Woodward
Unfortunately, Woodward picked up a serious injury shortly after the 2007 FA Youth Cup win and never recovered.
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