Following a breakout 2013-14 campaign, Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan is out to prove to manager Brendan Rodgers that he deserves to keep his place in the lineup.
After injury to first-choice Jose Enrique, the 21-year-old made the left-back position his own last season, starting 23 Premier League games, as the club narrowly missed out on the title to rivals Manchester City.
However, with Enrique now recovered and Glen Johnson holding onto his spot on the right for now, Flanagan realises he faces a battle for minutes in 2014-15, but is prepared for the challenge.
‘The past 12 months have been unbelievable and couldn't have gone much better, but that's gone and now we're just concentrating on this season which starts now,’ he told Liverpoolfc.com.
‘Personally I'm hoping to come out of pre-season injury-free and try to establish my place in the starting line-up again for the new season.
‘The manager has shown that he'll give young lads a chance, and for the younger players in the group to see what the likes of Raheem [Sterling], Andre [Wisdom], Jordan [Ibe] and myself have done proves they'll get a chance.’
A natural right-back, Flangan’s impressive form last season saw him named as one of seven reserves for England’s World Cup squad this summer, earning his first cap in the warm-up game against Ecuador in Miami.
With the club having been linked to a number of left-backs in the transfer market in recent weeks, such as Ben Davies, Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Moreno, most believe the best option would be to allow the Liverpool-native to challenge the polarising Johnson for the starting role at his more comfortable spot.
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Whether Rodgers will allow things to play out that way remains to be seen but there’s no doubt that, whatever the outcome, Flanagan has a promising club and perhaps international career ahead of him.