Cameron Brannagan wants to earn Liverpool place after failed loan
LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool youngster Cameron Brannagan insists he is now fully focussed on forcing his way into Jurgen Klopp's first-team plans after a loan move failed to materialise over the summer.
Brannagan, 20, was set to spend the 2016-17 season in the Championship with Wigan Athletic before complications in the deal saw it eventually fall through back in August.
The promising midfielder had a breakthrough season in 2015-16 -- going on to make nine first-team appearances in total throughout the campaign. He was expected to continue his development away from Anfield on a temporary basis but will now keep training with the senior side, as well as featuring regularly for the under-23 side.
"I'm here now and I've just got to keep working hard," Brannagan said at Liverpool's Kirkby Academy on Wednesday afternoon. "If the manager needs me I'm here to be called upon. The U23s' games are coming up and I've just got to keep playing him in them and working hard."
On his potential move to Wigan, Brannagan added: "There was loads of speculation. I was going 'here' and 'there' but mainly my focus was on whatever was there.
"If the manager had accepted that then I'd have probably gone but he didn't and I'm still here. My priority at the minute is to keep working hard and when I get the chance to play, keep playing well.
"Playing last season [in the first team] just gives you the incentive that you want to play more. Being a young lad coming up, you know that you're not going to be able to play 20 games a year -- it's not normal.
"When at Melwood, I've just got to keep trying to impress the manager as much as I can. Even when I'm training here [at the academy], I've got to try and impress the manager and the U23s training staff. We will see where that takes me."
Liverpool will have have a limited number of games this season due to the failure to qualify for European football.
While the No. 25. admits his chances maybe slightly limited this term as a result, he insists the opportunities to develop under the Reds boss still remain.
"At the end of last season, the manager stuck with a lot of the youngsters and in the cup games he played us and gave us a chance." said Brannagan. "We understand this year that might be a bit harder because that there's not that many cup competitions that we're in. But us youngsters are always working hard with the manager every day at Melwood.
"Whenever we need something, we can always speak to the manager or we can go and knock on the manager's door and say we need something on the pitch or off the pitch, he will help us a lot.
"As a young lad, you need that to keep learning. If he keeps us up there and we keep sticking to what we have to do and keep doing well, then we might get our chance in the future."
Brannagan played in a number of different midfield positions when handed his chance by Klopp and his predecessor Brendan Rodgers at various stages last season.
The England youth international believes his versatility could lead to further opportunities with the first team.
"I've been here since I was five now and I think I've played every position on the pitch -- in goal at one stage in the U9s!" he continued. "Wherever the manager wants to play I can play it. I don't really mind, as a long as I'm playing.
"There's many positions that I could probably play. Over the years I've learned so much from all the positions I've played. If I ever got put somewhere that I wasn't too comfortable, I could do a job.
"I can play on the right, the left -- I don't mind, as long as I am playing. That's all I'm concerned about."
Brannagan is expected to be involved in Liverpool U23s' game against Leicester City on Sunday afternoon at Prenton Park -- the home of Tranmere Rovers.
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.