Liverpool FC’s Australian left-back Brad Smith capped off an impressive breakthrough season with The Reds by beating a host of young talent to the Academy Players’ Player of the Year. The 22 year old defender graduated to the first team in the 2013-14 season under Brendan Rodgers but 2015-16 has seen him cement his place in the squad, making 10 appearances and even scoring a crucial equalising goal against Exeter in the FA Cup.
On winning the award, the Sydney-born player remained humble, “It’s a privilege to win this award, the other nominees could have all won it as well and have had a good season. Thanks to all the senior boys who have helped me out this year, teaching me some new stuff. Thanks to the coaches, and the coaching staff and the manager for giving me my chance.”
The newly announced Liverpool Academy NSW Managing Director Scott Collis said, “Brad is an exciting young player and it is wonderful to see him win such a prestigious award. To see a young Australian develop through the Liverpool Academy to such a level where he is now being recognised by his peers and getting his chance at the top level both for Liverpool and the Socceroos would be an inspiration to a whole new generation of players.”
His award also comes in a week where Smith’s place was confirmed in the Socceroos’ squad to play England on May 27th. Fans can expect to see his lightning speed, attacking appetite and dangerous left foot on show at the Stadium of Light.
Smith was also nominated for the club’s Young Player of the Year and came close, only losing out to powerful German midfielder Emre Can, while the man of the night was Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho who took home a stunning four awards including Player of the Season.
Given that all three of Smith, Can and Coutinho are under 24 years of age highlights the willingness of manager Jurgen Klopp to give youth a chance, to nurture players through their youth and mould them into potential world-beaters, following in the footsteps of former academy starlets and now Liverpool legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Put simply, it’s The Liverpool Way.