Nathaniel Clyne is Liverpool and England’s true forgotten man
Background Photo: Andy Nugent CC BY-SA 2.5
A little over four years ago, Southampton's two starting full-backs departed for pastures new. Luke Shaw headed for Manchester United. Nathaniel Clyne dropped him off then travelled another 35 miles across the M62 to Liverpool. In subsequent seasons, their career paths took almost symmetrical trajectories.
At first, Shaw struggled with form and fitness issues before and after his severe leg break. Clyne established himself as Liverpool’s first-choice right back and competed with Kyle Walker for the England berth.
Now, Shaw's first choice for club and country while Clyne's gone missing. Niggling injuries allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez to push him aside at Anfield and Kieran Trippier in the England set-up.
The situation raises two questions:
- Is there any hope for Clyne at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp?
- If not, where can he go?
They say timing is everything. Perhaps time is back on Clyne's side. While a huge loss for both Merseyside red and England white, Gomez's ankle injury offers the Stockwell native a crucial opportunity. He and Alexander-Arnold are Klopp's only senior right backs. If there was ever a moment to return to the Kop's good graces, this is it.
The match calendar's busiest portion looms. Klopp must plan a rotation to keep his squad fresh. Clyne might play his way back into the manager’s thoughts.
At 27, Clyne is entering his prime. It’s now or never. On the other hand, if Klopp's mind is set against him, the holiday fixtures at least put the player in the shop window before the January transfer period. Here are four clubs who might be in a spending mood.