Ryan McLaughlin hails impact of Brendan Rodgers at Anfield

Ryan McLaughlin
Ryan McLaughlin

Northern Ireland defender Ryan McLaughlin has hailed the impact of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool.

Rodgers’ stock has been steadily on the rise since succeeding Kenny Dalglish at Anfield back in June 2012.

The Carnlough native was named LMA Manager of the Year last season after guiding Liverpool to second spot in the Barclays Premier League.

A new four-year contract quickly followed – a meteoric rise for the former Ballymena United and Reading defender.

McLaughlin is on the books at Anfield but has found his season disrupted by injury.

The versatile 20-year-old has recently returned to action, however, and has featured in a number of reserve team games with the Reds.

McLaughlin hopes he can impress Rodgers now he is off the treatment table – and boost his club and international fortunes.

“Brendan is an unbelievable coach and has been doing very well at Liverpool,” McLaughlin said.

“He’s a good man manager as well and takes time to talk to you about your life as well as your football which makes you feel important.

“There are the big players in the first team squad but he always has time for the younger players asking questions like ‘how’s the family?’, and he gives you advice on football and how to improve.

“He has been very good with me and I only have nice things to say about him.

“He does take an interest in international football, especially with him being from Northern Ireland.

“He would be quite close with Michael and would be in constant contact.”

McLaughlin believes it would be a dream for Northern Ireland to qualify for their first ever European Championship.

Michael O’Neill’s side sit second in Group F with six qualifiers remaining – starting with Sunday’s home clash with Finland.

“It would be unbelievable. Everyone talks about the 1982 and 1986 World Cups but you want to make something now,” he added.

“For the fans also you all want to be in the camper van going to France.

“We have the quality in the squad and the confidence is sky high and we believe we can get there.”