Liverpool hot prospect Bobby Duncan has found himself in the headlines after becoming subject to interest from a number of clubs around Europe.
Fiortentina and FC Nordsjaelland have reportedly made offers to take Duncan on loan for the 2019-20 campaign, with the latter having been rejected by Liverpool.
We’ve taken a closer look at the 18-year-old, who is fast becoming one of the most intriguing young players in English football.
Okay, let’s just get this out of the way now: Duncan just so happens to be the cousin of former Reds icon Steven Gerrard. You’re going to be hearing lots of that whenever you read/watch/listen to anything about the youngster.
Despite being born in Liverpool, Duncan did not start his career in the Reds’ academy, only moving to Anfield last summer.
After a short spell with Wigan, the striker was signed by Manchester City at the age of 11 and spent six years progressing through their youth systems.
The Reds pounced last summer after Duncan stalled on signing a professional deal at City, which led to him training away from the club for the final few months of his stay in Manchester.
“It’s been an amazing six years at Manchester City,” he wrote on social media upon the move.
“It was a difficult decision for me and my family but the time is right for a new challenge and fulfil my dreams and potential elsewhere.”
Liverpool paid £200,000 for his signature, but he could now leave Merseyside one year on due to concerns he will struggle to force his way into Jurgen Klopp’s first team.
Tottenham, Juventus, Monaco, Roma and Borussia Dortmund have all been credited with an interest in the forward in the past.
Top 🔟 #LFCU18s goals 2018/19…
Bobby Duncan 🔥
Paul Glatzel 🚀
Jake Cain 💫
⚠️ Warning: Contains screamers pic.twitter.com/W0N6nX6Lt7
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 29, 2019
The most eye-catching moment of Duncan’s burgeoning career to date arguably came with England’s Under-16 side in 2016, when he became the first Englishman to score a hat-trick against Brazil to fire the side to a 4-3 victory.
His record at academy level, meanwhile, is impressive. According to the Liverpool Echo, while at City in 2015-16 he scored a ludicrous 66 goals in all competitions.
Last season, he bagged 30 goals and provided 16 assists in all competitions for Liverpool’s youth sides last term.
That included a late equaliser against his former club City in the FA Youth Cup final, which Liverpool went on to win on penalties.
Such form led to him being involved with the first team in pre-season, scoring the final goal in the 6-0 win over Tranmere Rovers and also travelling as part of the squad for the tour of the US, where he featured in the 2-1 defeat to Sevilla.
He has now been promoted to the Under-23 squad, where he is competing with Rhian Brewster to lead the line, starting once and appearing off the bench twice in the opening three fixtures.
👌 As Bobby Duncan and Paul Glatzel both hit 20 goals for the season…
Enjoy some of the best strikes from the young pairing, so far. ⚽️🙌 pic.twitter.com/r3YahloBtX
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 31, 2019
“He just exuded confidence; he always has done. He had this undeniable self-belief that he was going to be elite, nothing was going to stop him – more than I’ve ever seen in a pupil,” Ian Forgie, Duncan’s former teacher, told the Evening Standard in 2018.
“We’ve had a lot of good footballers come through the school, there were a lot in that team. But none had that unwavering self-belief that he had from walking through the doors in Year Seven.”
“He’s just a typical street player; a raw talent. I think there are many similarities between him and Wayne Rooney in his physique and the way he plays his game and his upbringing,” Anthony Barry, Wigan’s first-team coach when Duncan was on the books, also told the Evening Standard.
“I played with Wayne right through the youth teams and the similarities are there for everyone to see I think.”
Forgie, however, sees a different comparison in Duncan: “From the first trial and from the way he uses that left foot, I said he’s a young Robbie Fowler. That’s all I see.
“He’s not going to be that tall, he’s going to be strong in the same way, he’s going to have that neck like Robbie Fowler.
“It’ll be about him scoring goals. If he can add that work rate to it, he’ll be there or thereabouts at the elite level.”
“These boys are our future if they want to be our future but this pre-season is, for them, exciting of course,” Jurgen Klopp said of Duncan and Under-18 captain Paul Glatzel in June.
“When you are already in the club then the door is always open for you to the first team: the thing is you have to go through by yourself.”
“It’s unbelievable to be honest, sometimes I can’t believe I’m training with the best team in the world!” Duncan himself told Redmen TV during the summer tour of the US.