FeatureMeet the Academy: The level-headed and driven Calum Scanlon

By Glenn Price


Facebook Twitter Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Telegram

The sight of a pair of boots and framed shirt in the living room serve as a reminder of all Calum Scanlon has achieved and got left to accomplish.

The pieces of kit are his from when he made his senior debut for Liverpool. That came in October at Anfield during the second half of the Europa League meeting with Toulouse.

It was a moment to cherish and a significant milestone for the 18-year-old, arriving a couple of years after joining the club from Birmingham City.

"I use that as motivation for my next goals as I know the hard work never stops," Scanlon tells Liverpoolfc.com. "I still have so much to improve on and so many goals to achieve. I really do use them as a reminder of what's to come next.

"Obviously coming to Liverpool, that was always a target that I aimed for. When I first came I had a few injuries, so it kind of hindered my progress a little bit, I had limited game time. But I always had the same objective, the same plan throughout the whole time being here.

"Then obviously when it came around, I was ready, I've worked hard all the previous seasons for this. It was an amazing moment."

A second appearance followed earlier this month, again in the Europa League at Union SG.

Notably level-headed and determined, these traits of Scanlon are not only evident in conversation but translate on the pitch – whether at the Kirkby Academy or in front of a crowd of 50,000, as was the case for his debut.

The left-back says: "I knew I just had to play my game from the previous time in the Academy. Working with amazing coaches, Bridgey [Marc Bridge-Wilkinson], Barry [Lewtas], Alex Inglethorpe, they've always told me to be free on the pitch, enjoy the game, do what you do best.

"I just knew I had to go into the game, just enjoy it and do what the gaffer asked me to do. I thought that was important – to enjoy it and to work hard for the team.

"Of course it's always easier said than done. But when I come on into games like that, I just think I have to get the non-negotiables right. I've got to make sure I'm running – we're a pressing team, so I've always got to work hard. And as long as you're working hard, you're trying to do the right thing, I think the rest will follow.

"That really was my mindset going into the game – work hard for the team, make sure you're doing your job right and hopefully the nice things will come."


The nice things are coming – ones that have succeeded all of Scanlon's expectations when he made the decision to leave his boyhood Birmingham in February 2021.

"It was a no-brainer really," he says. "I knew what I had to do. I knew it was the best for my development.

"When I first heard Liverpool were interested in signing me, I was ecstatic. It was an amazing feeling. I went to the training ground, met the coaches and I knew I had found the perfect place to develop. It was surreal.

"It was an amazing club with amazing history, passionate fans. It was really everything you could ask for. I just instantly knew that this was a special club that I wanted to be a part of."

Scanlon settled in quickly and the sight of him flying down the left channel is constant in his outings for the U18s and U21s.

It's a side to his game he brought to Kirkby after playing further up the pitch in younger age groups.

View this post on Instagram

"I think I was around U14s, U15s where I tried left-back," Scanlon recalls. "At first it took quite a while to get used to but then I realised I was getting much more of the ball.

"Ever since then, I've just enjoyed it and really felt comfortable in that position. Obviously I don't mind where I play, as long as I'm on the pitch.

"Obviously going straight into left-back, there's different demands of the game and I had to find quickly that defending was very important. I made sure that I was good defensively one-v-one and I'm still working on that to this day."

With his development rewarded with senior opportunities and memorabilia from them taking pride of place at home, what does Scanlon now want to achieve?

He finishes: "Obviously short term I just want to continue enjoying my football, giving my all every single day, every session, gym session, training – whether I'm off or on the pitch. I just really want to keep improving.

"Long term, I wish to break into the first team here. I've looked at players such as Curtis Jones, Trent [Alexander-Arnold], Jarell Quansah a recent one, Harvey Elliott, they're all amazing players that have had an amazing pathway and they've showed the younger players – like myself and even younger ones in the Academy – that there is a pathway and if you work hard enough then the hard work pays off, like they've showed.

"That's really what I'm looking forward to and hopefully I'll achieve one day."



Facebook Twitter Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Telegram