Liverpool Fullback Joins Hornets
Much-needed fullback?... Watford sign Liverpool’s English fullback Ryan McLaughlin amidst rumours that current fullback Ikechi Anya is leaving Vicarage Road.
Following the loan signing of Federico Bernardeschi from Fiorentina just days ago, Watford have added to their squad with Liverpool’s Ryan McLaughlin joining on loan.
Despite the Hornets paying Fiorentina £100k for Bernardeschi’s services, it is believed that Liverpool will be receiving no money as part of this deal, and the wages will be evenly split between the two clubs.
However, it appears that McLaughlin will miss out on vital training time with Watford, as the Hornets went to their training camp yesterday to play several pre-season friendlies.
The Northern Irishman has made no appearances for the Reds so far in his career, but joined Barnsley on loan last season and played nine games in the Sky Bet Championship. He currently wears the number 43 shirt for the Premier League giants.
McLaughlin, 20, was interviewed by BBC Sport just hours ago, saying, “As soon as I was approached by Watford, I knew I wanted to spend the season there. The club as a whole is going in the right direction and I really want to help them achieve promotion this season.”
“Whether I’m a first team starter or not, I’m very glad to have the opportunity to play for a club like Watford,” he added.
This move comes as quite a surprise to many fans, who were expecting the right back to stay at Liverpool this season and gain some experience in the cup matches.
However, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers clearly had other ideas for McLaughlin, “I have very high hopes for Ryan, and I do not want to waste his talent. If he has an opportunity to get frequent first team football and improve his development, I really want that to happen for him.”
“He is an excellent talent and I feel that Watford are very lucky to have his services this year. I look forward to monitoring his progress and seeing how well he develops as a player for the season.”
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In 2009, McLaughlin joined local side Glenovan for a two-year spell, before being poached by Liverpool in 2011. He has been at Anfield ever since, but is yet to play a first team match for the club.
However, he has represented Northern Ireland on many occasions for all squads. He’s made 11 appearances for the Under 16s, 13 caps for the Under 17s and scored 2 goals in 7 appearances for the Under 19 squad.
After making 1 appearance for the Under 21s, he was called up to the first team squad in 2012 to play a friendly against Finland, but was forced to withdraw due to an unfortunate hip injury. Two years later, he was called up again and made his senior international debut against Uruguay as a substitute.
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis: “Ryan is an excellent talent and I have no doubts that he will serve Watford well in the year he is there. Having experienced playing and training with him at Northern Ireland, I believe he will be a brilliant asset to the squad and I wish him well.”
However, the signing of McLaughlin may be bittersweet for the Hornets, as recently, there have been rumours and reports over Ikechi Anya’s possible move to Swansea City. Having been at the club since 2013, it has been reported that Anya is unhappy with the direction Watford are moving in, and discussions between the Scot and the Swans are currently underway.
New manager Paul Lambert had little to say on the matter, other than this tweet, “I have a feeling McLaughlin will shine in his time at Watford #welcomeryan”.
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