Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne made an inspiring comeback from his back injury during Liverpool U-23’s 4-0 win over Stoke City in the Premier League Cup at the weekend.
The former Southampton defender marked his first appearance at any level since July and played full 90 minutes, in a game where the likes of Dominic Solanke and Joe Gomez featured as well. The 26-year-old defender has been out of action due to a back injury and hasn’t featured in any game, at any level, since July.
He eventually marked his return to the first-team training earlier this month after he was included in Liverpool’s Champions League squad for the knockout stages of the competition.
Speaking of the £70,000-a-week Clyne’s inspirational return from his injury, Reds under-23 manager Neil Critchley went on to explain how the 26-year-old pushed himself through limits.
“He has not played for seven months and the plan was to see how long he would go for. He kept putting his thumb up and saying he was OK,” Critchley told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He obviously wanted to see out the 90 minutes, which was great for him. I thought he was a great example to our players in the way he managed himself during the game, as well as Joe Gomez.”
Clyne’s first-team teammates Joe Gomez and summer signing Dominic Solanke were a part of the squad as well and it was the latter’s hat-trick that helped the U23’s to progress to the tournament’s knockout stages.
Solanke, who came on as an 87th-minute substitute during Liverpool’s 4-1 win over West Ham in the Premier League, is yet to score a goal under Jurgen Klopp but does have a Premier League assist to his name. Speaking of Solanke’s impressive hat-trick, Critchley told Liverpool website,
“They were terrific goals, proper striker’s goals. You could see the confidence grow in him after his first goal with the right foot. His second goal with his left foot was a fantastic finish across the goalkeeper.
And then a lovely tap-in at the end. All three – Joe, Nathaniel and Dom – were great examples for our players with the way they set the tone. It is great to see Nathaniel back and I’m sure all three will play a big part for the first team before the end of the season.”
With just 10 Premier League games to go, time is not really on Clyne’s side, but we might well see him in the Champions League sooner or later. His return would be a massive boost for sure.