When Jon Flanagan broke onto the scene last season, he was a revelation. He coupled attacking adventure with defensive ability, rarely looked out of place on the biggest of stages and was arguably one of the Premier League's best full backs last year. He even got an endorsement from Brazil's legendary fullback Cafu. Not bad for a teenager.
But after sustaining a serious injury on Liverpool's 2014 preseason tour, he hasn't played a minute of competitive football since.
Though he returned to light training in March, recent scans showed a serious knee problem, which will require surgery, keeping him out for a further 6-9 months. This will be a massive blow not only to the player, but to Liverpool as well.
He appeared to be Liverpool's future right back for the forseeable future. He was a local boy who grew up with the club, with all the required talent to go far.
This set back not only means Liverpool will need to find themselves a new full back long term (Glen Johnson not being able to cut it), which could jeopradise his first team chances when he finally does recover. It also places his career more generally in jeopardy.
If he recovers on schedule, he will have missed the most crucial developmental stage of most footballer's careers, and will nearly be 23.
Though this certainly isn't an age to write a player off, it will be very difficult for him to develop to the fullest of his potential, particularly if he continues to be plagued with injury problems.
This is such a shame for a player with so much talent, and i'm sure I am not the only one who hopes that he will fully recover and fulfil his enormous potential.
It's a great shame for both Liverpool, and English football generally that such a bright prospect faces his career being ruined by injury, and I sincerely hope that this isn't the case.
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