Liverpool’s six FM 2012 prodigies – and how they fared in real life ten years later

The Reds are famous for producing some of the best talent and while this has happened a few times, there are often many players who slip through the cracks

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Liverpool are currently in the midst of the most famous chapter in their recent history, but just 10 years ago everything was very different.

A decade before the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane scored goals to propel the Reds to national and European glory, the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were Anfield’s pin-up boys.

The current Liverpool side boast plenty of young, exciting talent who promise to be stars of the future – although that was a similar situation in 2012.

After finishing eighth the previous season, Kenny Dalglish’s Reds were gearing up for the 2012/13 season with a point to prove and a plethora of youthful superstars. According to Football Manager Scout, Liverpool had six players who appeared in FM’s 100 child prodigies 10 years ago.

It can be argued that the six players in question had hardly ideal conditions to excel as Liverpool endured some of their worst league form of the Premier League era. The cream rises to the top, however, as evidenced by the standout star on this list.

Mirror Football have identified the six Reds players who were considered child prodigies in 2012 and how they fared 10 years later after being christened with a title that inspires such high expectations.

Sebastian Coates

Sebastian Coates’ time at Liverpool has been hampered by injuries

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Coates was twenty-one at the time of his prodigy status and managed to build a respectable career despite his overwhelming time at Anfield.

The centre-back was named Best Young Player of the Tournament at the 2011 Copa America and has seen his reputation soar. The Reds subsequently paid £7million for his services but the Uruguay international spent most of his time on the treatment table in Merseyside.

His most notable moment in a Liverpool shirt was undoubtedly a superb scissor volley for Queens Park Rangers. After another knee injury that ruled him out for most of the 2013/14 season, Coates returned to former club Nacional on loan before another spell at Sunderland followed.

He joined the Black Cats on a permanent basis in 2015 but stayed for half a season before being loaned back to Portuguese giants Sporting – where he remains on a permanent contract to this day.

Danny Wilson

Danny Wilson is now with MLS team Colorado Rapids

Wilson, who came through the youth ranks at Scottish giants Rangers, cost Liverpool £2million and arguably still couldn’t justify his price tag.

The bulk of Wilson’s appearances came in the form of reserves, with first-team football being so hard to come by for the defender he was actually asking out on loan.

Three separate loan spells saw Wilson return briefly to Blackpool, Bristol City and Scotland with Hearts. He was clearly happiest in his home country, having stayed at Tynecastle on a permanent contract after his contract at Liverpool expired.

In 2015, Wilson returned to the Rangers youth club, but three years at the Ibrox proved enough as he put up his sticks across the pond to play for MLS side Colorado Rapids. He currently remains in the States.

Jon Flanagan

Jon Flanagan spent eight years at Anfield

Born and raised in the red half of Merseyside, Flanagan realized the dream of those around him when he played for Liverpool.

Flanagan, a talented right-back, was thrown in at the deep end on his Reds debut against Manchester City in 2011. He made sure everyone knew he was good enough for this level as he kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win.

Flanagan did indeed win the club’s In-House Player of the Season award at the end of his debut season, and a new and improved contract followed. Eight years into the books at Anfield, Flanagan won an England cap and wore the armband for a Premier League game, but he was eventually eliminated from the first-team.

After loan spells at Burnley and Bolton, Flanagan left Liverpool for good to join Rangers. Today he can be found on the right-hand side for Danish club HB Køge.

Jack Robinson

Jack Robinson found few first-team opportunities at Liverpool

Although things didn’t work out for Robinson at Liverpool, he remains in the history books as the second-youngest player ever to represent the club at first-team level.

At that time he was even the youngest at 16 years and 250 days – breaking a 36-year record. Unfortunately, the signing of Jose Enrique slowed the left-back’s development and first-team minutes became increasingly scarce.

This led to a loan deal at Wolves before another at Blackpool for the full 2013–14 season. This was his last campaign on the Liverpool books as he made a permanent move to Queens Park Rangers the following season.

At the moment, Robinson is part of a Sheffield United side fighting for promotion to the Premier League.

Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey is still a regular in the Premier League

The Romford-born midfielder still plays in the Premier League colors for Newcastle to this day, but it was at Anfield that he first rose to prominence.

Liverpool parted ways at £1.7million to bring the Charlton midfielder to the club but while there were positive moments they were all too fleeting and Shelvey only lasted three years before joining Swansea City.

Another three years in Wales brought more flashes of brilliance, but Shelvey has truly found a home in St James’ Park.

Raham Sterling

Raheem Sterling sparked controversy when he traded Liverpool for Man City

Sterling’s story is well documented, but it’s still one that divides opinion. The England international swapped Liverpool’s red for Manchester City’s blue for a fee of £49million in 2015.

Many at Anfield had high expectations of Sterling and while he has continued to live up to them, he has done so for another side. The forward has won three Premier League titles and most of them at the expense of his former side.

Since then, Sterling has seen every touch of the ball mocked on every return to Anfield – a stark reminder that Reds fans have not forgotten his acrimonious exit.

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