Northern Ireland manager teases new position for Conor Bradley

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has hinted at a new position for Liverpool youngster Conor Bradley after his stellar displays for the Reds in recent weeks. 

The right-back made his first appearance of the season for the Reds in December in defeat at Union Saint-Gilloise and has made eight subsequent outings for Jurgen Klopp's side.

The 20-year-old has been sensational since filling in for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold and was even nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award for January alongside Diogo Jota.

Conor Bradley has produced five assists and a goal in his last four games, three of which came in a blockbuster, all-action performance against Chelsea at Anfield.

Bradley's meteoric rise will come as no surprise to those in Northern Ireland, the defender having already represented his country on 13 separate occasions.

However, Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has suggested that Bradley's performances have been so impressive that he could even be moved into midfield at international level.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, O'Neill stated: "His level of performance coming into the Liverpool team has been fantastic. He was injured for the majority of the first half of the season as well so I think we would probably have seen that earlier if that hadn't been the case.

"We only had him for three games out of 10 in qualification for Euro 2024. He's going to be a huge player for us going forward.

Northern Ireland v Cyprus - UEFA Nations League - Group 2 - Windsor Park Northern Irelands Conor Bradley applauds the fans after the UEFA Nations League match at Windsor Park, Belfast. Picture date: Sunday June 12, 2022. Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRL Copyright: xNiallxCarsonx 67399361

"There's people who've worked with him when he was very young with Northern Ireland tell me that if I'm brave enough to play him in midfield that I'll see an even better player. We'll see what comes of that. I'll have to be brave.

"But he's one of a number of young players. He's in a good group. The likes of Shea Charles, Isaac Price, Callum Marshall, Dale Taylor, Trai Hume.

"We have six or seven players who are nearly starters for us at this moment in time who are under-21 so those lads need time, need games. And Conor's got a nice group developing [around him]."

Bradley missed out on Liverpool's defeat at Arsenal last weekend after the death of his father, with Jurgen Klopp insisting that the club will give him all the support and time he needs after such a traumatic experience.

"He's not available for the weekend. I think the mental state of the player is nothing we should discuss in public, to be honest," said Klopp in his pre-match press conference before the clash with Burnley.

"Everybody, if you have a bit of empathy in yourself and would just try to bring yourself in the situation, it's just nothing to talk about. It's all logical. The boy gets as long as he needs with his family.

"I think from next week on he will be back in training but we have to see. If he doesn't feel ready for that then that's fine as well. There is absolutely no rush from us.

"The only thing we want to do is support him as much as we can but in the moment he is still with his family and he is in the best place."

Share This Article