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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 16 December, 2018

Irish defender celebrates 20th birthday with new Liverpool contract

Irish U21 international Corey Whelan is currently captaining Liverpool’s in-form U23 side.

Liverpool U23 v Manchester United U23 - Premier League 2 - Anfield Source: EMPICS Sport

HE HASN’T YET made his first-team debut for the club but Liverpool have shown their faith in Corey Whelan by handing the young Irish defender a new contract.

Whelan, who has been with Liverpool since the age of 10, was born in Chester but has been representing the Republic of Ireland since U17 level via his Irish-born parents.

The contract extension is a belated birthday boost for the youngster — who can play across the back four — after he turned 20 last Sunday.

Whelan was named captain of Liverpool’s U23 side this season and the team have been going well. They’re currently six points clear at the top of Premier League 2.

He also made his Ireland U21 debut back in March, when Noel King’s side opened their 2019 European Championship qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Kosovo.

Corey Whelan Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Speaking after he handed the captaincy to Whelan in September, Liverpool U23 boss Neil Critchley said: “I thought it would be a big thing for him to give him the captaincy.

“He has got leadership qualities and I think that is something he can develop. We thought that would be the right thing to do for him to give him the armband and he has done very well for us.

“Corey is so versatile as a player. One of his main assets is you can ask him to play anywhere across the back four and he just gets his head down and gets on with it. There’s no sign of despondency from him playing out of position and he sees that as a challenge.

“That’s another reason why he is the captain, because of his attitude every day in training, which is outstanding.”

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Paul Dollery

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