Northern Ireland keeper working hard to follow Conor Bradley into Reds’ first team
Northern Ireland Under-21 star Liam Hughes has outlined his dream to play first team football for Liverpool in the future and hailed the backing of senior international goalkeeping coach Roy Carroll.
Having joined Liverpool a year ago, Hughes (20) moved on loan to non-league side Stalybridge Celtic earlier this month for the rest of the season telling the Belfast Telegraph that he made the switch to play first team football and gain vital experience.
Continuing to train with the Merseyside giants, he has already made a positive impression at Stalybridge saving a penalty on his debut to earn them an important 1-0 win in the Northern Premier League.
It has been an eventful 12 months for county Armagh native Hughes who was on the bench for Liverpool in a Premier League win at Sheffield United last season and called into the senior Northern Ireland squad last year having previously played in the Irish League for Portadown at just 15, joined Dungannon Swifts and then transferred to Celtic aged 16!
In September teenager Conor Bradley became the first Northern Ireland player to feature in a competitive first team fixture for Liverpool since Sammy Smyth in 1954. Lifelong Reds fan Hughes would love to add his name to the list.
“Going to Stalybridge Celtic I want to get as many senior games as I can because that first team experience can help me push on,” Hughes said.
“I’m still training with Liverpool during the week so Liverpool get to keep an eye on me which is what they want and I get to play senior matches.
“The dream is to stay at Liverpool and of course one day play for the first team so we’ll see how things go.”
Part of Ian Baraclough’s international panel in 2021, but yet to win a senior cap, Hughes added: “I have learnt a lot from being in the senior squad and goalkeeping coach Roy Carroll is great.
“I was on the phone to him recently and he is someone who wants the best for you.
“It’s good to have that backing and I’m determined to do all I can to develop and improve.”