The Unfolding of Conor Bradley’s Injury Saga
Initially touted as a minor setback, Conor Bradley’s injury has proven to be far more severe than Liverpool initially let on. The 20-year-old right-back is now an “extreme doubt” for fixtures through November, casting a shadow over his prospects for the season.
The Pre-Season Promise That Wasn’t
Conor Bradley had a promising start to Liverpool’s pre-season, featuring in the opening friendlies. However, he was notably absent from the squad that travelled to Singapore and faced off against Leicester and Bayern Munich. While the club initially downplayed the severity of his condition, Bradley has been sidelined for over a month and is yet to return to training.
Further investigation has revealed that Bradley is suffering from a stress fracture in his back. The initial prognosis suggests an eight to 12-week recovery period, putting his participation in Northern Ireland’s Euro 2024 qualifiers in jeopardy.
Michael O’Neill Weighs In
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has echoed these concerns, stating that Bradley would be an “extreme doubt” for the remainder of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, which wrap up on November 20. O’Neill emphasised the need for caution, especially given Bradley’s youth and the nature of his injury.
The Prevalence of Stress Fractures in Young Players
As O’Neill pointed out, stress fractures are not uncommon among young players who suddenly find themselves with increased first-team responsibilities. Liverpool has seen similar injuries sideline Curtis Jones and Stefan Bajcetic, while new signing Calvin Ramsay arrived with the same issue.
This injury comes as a significant blow to both Bradley and Liverpool, who had earmarked him as a backup to Trent Alexander-Arnold for the season. O’Neill suggests that Bradley’s future at Liverpool will likely be reassessed in January, depending on his recovery and form.
The Road to Recovery
Bradley, who had an impressive loan spell at Bolton last season, now faces a challenging road to recovery. With a high number of minutes played in the previous season, his focus must now shift to regaining his fitness and proving his worth once again.