Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing has left Anfield for Championship side Bolton Wonderers after completing the move following a successful medical. Spearing was loaned out to Bolton last season and has now made the move permanent as he takes the next step in his career.
Spearing is a local lad raised in Wallasey, Merseyside that graduatated from Liverpool’s Youth Academy. Spearing captained the Under-18 side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2007. He has been involved with Liverpool since the age of seven and was promoted to Melwood in 2007 to train with the first team after impressing in the club’s academy. Spearing made his competitive first team debut in December of 2008, coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 Champions League victory over Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven. Spearing later appeared in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Real Madrid in the following March. In 2010, he was loaned out to Leicester, where he made nine appearances for the Foxes and scored one goal before returning to Anfield.
The young defensive midfielder was included in Liverpool’s squad for the 2010-11 season and played the full 90 minutes against Rabotnicki in a Europa League qualifier. Jay Spearing made his first ever start at Anfield against Steaua Bucharest in the Reds’ opening group game, which Liverpool went on to win with the score of 4-1. He enjoyed a good spell in Liverpool’s first team due to the absence of Steven Gerrard and out of favor Christian Poulsen, where his performances rewarded him with the inclusion in England’s Under-21’s provisional 40-man-squad for the 2011 Under-21 European Championship.
After ending the previous season as a regular in Liverpool’s first team, Spearing suddenly found himself down the pecking order when Kenny Dalglish signed Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, and Stewart Downing to strengthen his squad. Spearing found it difficult to feature in the first team with the new additions. Not long after Brendan Rodgers’ arrival, Spearing was loaned out to Bolton, where he made 39 appearances last season. As a result, his performances have encouraged Bolton to make the move permanent.
Spearing leaves Liverpool after making 55 appearances for the Reds with an attitude that gained him much respect with his wholehearted performances. Like most youngsters that came through the youth system, Spearing found it difficult to play regularly after breaking into the first team. His hard working style of play saw Liverpool use Spearing as a midfielder that plays just in front of the defense to break up attacks from the opposition. Unfortunately for him, the competition for places in Liverpool’s midfield is tough, and Lucas seemed to be the preferred player for this role at the club.
Many believe Spearing has made the right decision by joining Bolton, although it must be difficult leaving your boyhood heroes. But he is moving on to a great club, where he will get the opportunity to play regularly and possibly even be able to commute from Liverpool for training and games. It is no good for any player who has ambition to sit on the bench with opportunities few and far, and Spearing loves his football and is now at a stage in his career where he needs to be playing regularly. Since he is a graduate from the academy, this probably saw him overlooked, with manager’s bringing in their own players through transfers.
Spearing has never let Liverpool down when called upon and he will go to Bolton with the best of wishes from all concerned at Liverpool. Liverpool have a brilliant crop of youngsters coming through at the moment, with everyone connected to the Reds anticipating great things from them, but will they ever play regularly for the club? They will likely face the same problems that Spearing has faced, with tough competition for places at the club. Clubs like Liverpool always bring in new talent through transfer dealings, and this makes it even more difficult for youngsters to play regularly as managers always seem to play the players that they have paid money for.
This is currently happening at Liverpool, with Jack Robinson loaned out to Blackpool, Suso being loaned back to Spain, and Coady also being loaned out to Sheffield United. These three players have all experienced first team action, and although the loan will benefit the players and give them more experience, it will be interesting to see whether they will feature when they return to Anfield or be offloaded. Wisdom and Sterling are the other two players who featured last season along with Suso, but it remains to be seen how they will be used in the new season with the arrival of new players Aspas, Alberto, and Toure to the squad. Jordan Ibe is another exciting prospect, but at 17, it is a bit far fetched to expect him to play regularly.
It would be tremendous if Liverpool’s youngsters can establish themselves in the first team similar to the team of youngsters that Manchester United were blessed with in the 90’s, when Beckham, Scholes, Butt, and the Neville brothers broke through. Those youngsters gave United the nucleus of a team that was to become more experienced with age and gave them great success. It would be only beneficial if Liverpool could see their youngsters mature and become first team regulars and not end up leaving Liverpool like Jay Spearing, who was forced to leave the club for first team football.
Written by Jamie McLaughlin