Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom insists he welcomed the chance to join West Bromwich Albion this summer on a season-long loan, and hopes his time at the Hawthorns will better prepare him for first-team football with the Reds.
Wisdom, 21, has impressed as West Brom’s first-choice right-back so far this season, missing just one Premier League match against his parent club due to the terms of his loan agreement, with his performances drawing praise from manager Alan Irvine.
With Atletico Madrid loanee Javier Manquillo struggling at Anfield since arriving in August, some fans have questioned Brendan Rodgers’ decision to ship the England Under-21 international out, but he stresses that it was a collective decision.
“It was a mutual decision for me to go out on loan again. Liverpool and myself looked at it this summer and I felt it was best for me at this stage of my career,” he told the Telegraph.
“Liverpool are in a privileged position, they are in the Champions League and all the cups so personally I thought I needed to play consistently.
“I’d have played games at Liverpool but not as much as I’d have wanted. My main focus is to play for Liverpool, and it always will be, but I thought I’d get more games at West Brom.
“Nothing is ever assured in football but Brendan Rodgers is always in touch and pushing me to do well. That feedback makes me want to keep progressing and hopefully I can put another thought in his mind to be part of the future.
“It’s everybody’s dream there to be in the Liverpool first-team and I’m no different.”
Signed from Bradford City in 2008, Wisdom came up through Liverpool’s youth ranks alongside Raheem Sterling, before earning his senior debut in September 2012 under Rodgers, a few months after the now-England international made his first-team breakthrough.
Since enjoying a productive loan spell in the Championship last season with Steve McClaren’s Derby, where he endured play-off final heartbreak, the Yorkshire-native is now eager to follow in the footsteps of his friend and colleague once he returns to Melwood.
“I speak to Raheem all the time, I’m so proud of what he’s doing because we came through the youth system together,” he said.
“The world is in his hands and he’s in the right place at Liverpool. The club may be having a bad time at the moment but they’ve had them before and can come through them again.
“They’ve had a lot of changes, it will take time to gel, but every team has a bad spell. Managers come up against tough times and I’m sure he knows how to handle it.
“I’m just looking forward to going back there having improved, learned more and gained more experience. Let’s see where it takes me because I’m always up for a challenge. I’ve been there since I was 15, it feels like home now.”