Profile of Nathaniel Clyne

For the fourth time in twelve months Liverpool raided Southampton’s treasure-chest of talent to add full-back Nathaniel Clyne to its first-team squad. With Glen Johnson leaving and doubts about the ability of loanee Javier Manquillo to cope with the rigours of the English game it was no secret that right-back was one of the positions that needed strengthening as another new season drew closer.

Clyne was born in the south London Borough of Lambeth and his professional career began at nearby Crystal Palace where manager Neil Warnock had such faith in his ability that he gave the 17-year-old his debut in a home match against Barnsley in October 2008. Twenty-five more appearances in the Championship followed by the end of that season and another 96 over the next three seasons, in the first of which came his debut senior goal in a 4-2 win at Reading in December 2009. The men who succeeded Warnock as Palace manager (Paul Hart, George Burley and Dougie Freedman) knew that it would be hard to hold on to the player if the club could not match his ambitions and it was Freedman who negotiated the defender’s transfer to Southampton during the summer of 2012. Clyne went straight into the first team and only missed four Premier League matches in 2012/13, scoring his first goal at this level when Aston Villa went to the south coast in September. There were fewer appearances in 2013/14 but he did score his first cup goal in an exciting 4-3 home FA Cup win over Burnley. In 2014/15 he was again almost an ever-present and scored a terrific equaliser as Southampton were narrowly beaten 2-1 at Anfield on the season’s opening weekend. Representative honours were not far away. Having played for his country at both Under-19 and Under-21 level national team manager Roy Hodgson called him up into his squad for the Euro 2016 qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia in the autumn of 2014 but he was only an unused substitute in both matches. A full debut eventually came in the same competition against Slovenia at Wembley when he played the whole 90 minutes in a 3-1 victory. At the time of his transfer to Liverpool Clyne had played five times for England’s senior team.

More international caps and hopefully club honours are waiting for a young man who has worked really hard at his game and now has the opportunity to establish himself at one of the country’s biggest clubs. Although only in his mid-twenties he has already appeared in over two hundred English league matches and he could appear in the same number again or more for his new club if he can maintain his previous form and stay clear of injuries.

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