Conor Bradley had Manchester United and Chelsea chasing him before opting to sign for Liverpool back in 2019. Four years later, the Reds look to have uncovered a gem in the 20-year-old right-back, who played a starring role in their 4-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday night.
Despite the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of talent on show at Anfield, Bradley was the talk of Merseyside after a sparkling performance against the Blues. The youngster slid in Diogo Jota, delivered a pinpoint cross for Dominik Szoboszlai, and dispatched a clinical finish of his own to finish the game with a goal and two assists.
County Tyrone-born Bradley was still playing with Dungannon Swifts in 2019, but a promising display in a Northern Ireland youth game saw clubs from the Premier League line up to sign him.
“I played a game for Northern Ireland in Newry and after that, I had Chelsea and Manchester United looking at me as well [as Liverpool],” Bradley told the Belfast Telegraph when he was just 15.
“I went to United and Southampton on trial but we picked Liverpool. It wasn’t just because I support them, it was because they’re a real family club and that’s something we all really appreciate. They’re also keen on the education side of it, which is very important to me.”
Naturally, signing for the Reds involved upping sticks and moving permanently from Northern Ireland. Christian Brothers Grammar School in Omagh allowed him to skip Year 10 and take his GCSEs early in order to make it happen.
Bradley, a senior Northern Ireland international with 13 caps to his name, excelled on loan at Bolton Wanderers last season, winning their Player of the Year award with seven goals in 53 appearances across all competitions.
The 20-year-old will hope to play some part in Liverpool’s Premier League title charge this campaign. The Reds are five points clear of Manchester City after outclassing Chelsea, but Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand.