Liverpool released 16 year old £1m buy and do him a massive favour
Liverpool football club has produced top homegrown talent in their time. That said, they have always liked a shop down at Crewe who seems to breed their 'type' of player. One such £1m 16-year old reached a crossroads after a switch to Anfield.
BBC pundit Danny Murphy was the Crewe to Liverpool blue-print for success.
As a 16-year-old, Daniel Trickett-Smith was developing nicely at Crewe Alexandra. However, as his ‘potential’ was being monitored by big-spending Manchester City, getting another Premier League club interested would not take long.
A deal for the teenager was done when Liverpool jumped in with a £1 million package for the club that had produced a string of players for the Merseyside club over the years.
Trickett-Smith had obvious talents that made him such a hot prospect.
Normally, the fee terms could be seen as high, but considering Wayne Rooney went for £30m not much after his mid-teens, it is a gamble worth taking in modern football.
Dan is a good example of what can happen to young players who leave the club too soon.Former Crewe manager - Dario Gradi
Danny Murphy put in some classy displays for Crewe before joining Liverpool aged 20.
Liverpool had done well, plucking players from the lower league Gresty Road set-up. Lee Jones, Rob Jones & Danny Murphy had all made the transition to the Anfield 1st team. Murphy's transfer was a well thought out bit of business.
Already a main-stay in Crewe starting 11, Liverpool signed him but loaned him back.. A perfect example of foresight - grab early, secure then nurture.
Although Murphy was one of the North-West's hottest properties, the Liverpool manager in 1997, Roy Evans, felt he was not quite ready for his squad.
The Liverpool youth team is bearing fruit after years of restructuring.
By all accounts, we have been told Trickett-Smith is just a normal lad with a love for the game, as most youngsters are. A transfer fee like this does create its own issues though.
Potential quickly turns to confirmed expectation. Training sessions carry a different edge. If you stay in the same age group there will be peer pressure as to ‘why him?’.
If the introduction is straight into the 1st team squad, sometimes the 'step up' can be too big, which can knock a young player's confidence.
Jurgen Klopp has a multi-million pound squad to choose from. Competition is fierce, top internationals face being left on the bench.
Trickett-Smith was initially seen as an attacking midfielder/loose forward, positions that were occupied at Anfield by Englishman Adam Lallana (cost £25m), Brazilian's Roberto Firmino (cost £29m) and Barcelona's Coutinho (cost £8.5m sold for initial £105m)
So, if the £1m Trickett-Smith gamble paid-off, Liverpool would have saved or made a fortune on a future No.10.
First team graduates Jordon Ibe, Jordan Rossiter and Jerome Sinclair played in the same 2013 Liverpool youth side as him, reaching the semi-finals, losing out to Chelsea.
Players the standard of Firmino will be a challenge to dislodge for an academy player.
Liverpool releasing Trickett-Smith at 20 could have done him a massive favour. ‘Cruel to be kind’ - Although a string of impressive performances for the U21’s can be viewed as good, if the 1st team is miles away, it does not count for much.
We know of players at big Prem or even Championship sides hitting the age of 20+ and are yet to sniff 1st team action, happy to ride it out. Clubs will keep them on if only to put out development/reserve sides or even just to test their next batch of talented school leavers coming through.
Some at 21 or 22 seek comfort with the association of a club and a steady income that even development football can bring.
Daniel Trickett-Smith's next chapter was not a Jamie Vardy fairy tale of returning to the top flight via non-league; it is plying his trade at Leek Town of the Northern Premier League 3 years after his Anfield exit. Still young enough (and good enough) to play at a higher level, it will take incredible mentality to achieve this, though.
The football business is about making or saving money (beyond playing the game) if that means buying the best at a great cost to be the best, so be it. Of course it could also mean buying cheap and early to either sell or save in the future.
QUALITY: Trent Alexander-Arnold is an example of the level of what's needed to break through from an academy at a top Premier League club.
Liverpool, of course, have proven that big clubs can recruit from within. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a sensation since debuting at 18. His England appearances could arguably position him as the best right-back in the country. So when an uncapped (and a little older) Aaron Wan-Bissaka joins Manchester United from Palace for £50m - it gets the mind ticking of what the Merseyside's own is worth.
Clubs will always take ‘that’ chance and the players will always take ‘that’ opportunity. Some you win, some you lose - only the player's next move will determine by how much.