Ireland U21 defender Cleary finds new club following Liverpool departure

The Dubliner signs for Birmingham’s Development Squad.

Cleary was unveiled by Birmingham today.
Cleary was unveiled by Birmingham today.
Image: Birmingham City FC/Twitter

AFTER IMPRESSING DURING a trial period with the club, Ireland youth international Daniel Cleary has signed a one-year contract with Birmingham City.

The defender, who left Liverpool at the end of last season, has put pen to paper on a deal with the Chamionship club as he goes in search of first team opportunities.

Cleary featured in three friendly fixtures for Birmingham’s Development Squad recently and did enough to earn a contract at St Andrew’s.

The Dubliner initially joins the club’s Development Squad ahead of the 2016/17 season but will no doubt look to break into Gary Rowett’s plans for the new campaign.

A product of Crumlin United, Cleary moved to Liverpool at the age of 11 but last May decided to move on after failing to make a single first team appearance at Anfield.

He earned the praise of former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers and was named on the bench for Liverpool’s Europa League clash with Bordeaux last September — but the arrival of Jurgen Klopp saw him fall back down the pecking order.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group B - Liverpool v Basel - Anfield The Dubliner during his Liverpool days. Source: EMPICS Sport

Cleary has been on Birmingham’s radar for a number of years after he had a trial with the club as a 14-year-old before signing to Liverpool’s youth academy.

“Daniel will add a little bit of steel and defensive aggression to the team,” Birmingham’s Development Squad coach, Richard Beale, said.

“Obviously he’s come from Liverpool where all the players can handle the ball well and we hope that Daniel can put it all together consistently for Birmingham City Football Club.”

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Cleary is a tall and technically strong centre-back who has represented Ireland at U15, U17, U19 and U21. He captained the Boys in Green at the U17 European Championships in May 2013.

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