Trent Alexander Arnold says 27-year-old free agent was the best youngster he ever face

The Reds right-back has become the best academy graduate of a generation since bursting onto the scene in 2016. In that time Trent has faced the best players on the planet, time and time again.

But speaking on the We are Liverpool podcast today, the 25-year-old was asked for one name who stood out to him at youth level, who never quite made it all the way.

“I would say Brandon Barker, played for City,” Alexander-Arnold explained. “I was [under] 18s and I played for the 21s first ever time, Anfield, got beat 3-0, he scored two and got an assist, I came off about 60 [minutes into the game].

“Still to this day it was the opponent that I think just destroyed me! I never had it like that before. At that point I’m thinking ‘this kid is going to be the best player in the world.’ I’d never seen someone move so quickly, sharply, effectively.”

We’ve got to be honest, we’ve never heard of Barker. That may be showing our ignorance, but it also shows that the now 27-year-old never became the player Trent expected that he would.

Barker did go on to make an appearance for City though, coming on as a substitute in an FA Cup game against Chelsea as a 19-year-old.

Since then, the former England youth international has had something of a journeyman career. Barker has played for eight different teams, spanning four different countries.

His most successful stint was arguably whilst still a City player. Baker spent the 2017/18 season on-loan at Hibernian, playing 30 times and scoring twice in all competitions.

Upon leaving City permanently in 2019, the winger found a permanent home under Steven Gerrard at Rangers. But having made just 27 appearances across three seasons, Barker left permanently for Reading in 2021.

Just four appearances followed for the Royals, before a spell in Cyprus with Omonia last season yielded only five more. Now, having left Omonia, Barker finds himself without a club.

A reminder that so many things have to go in a young player’s favour for them to be a success at a big club. Things couldn’t have gone in more opposite directions for Alexander-Arnold and Barker since their meeting all those years ago.


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