This article is part of Football FanCast’s Expert Roundup feature, which provides three quotes from those in the know in order to illuminate fundamental strengths, weaknesses, quirks, stylistic comparisons and general observations of players, transfer targets and confirmed signings.
When Bobby Duncan’s agent released an explosive statement towards the end of August claiming that Liverpool football club were ‘mentally bullying’ his teenage charge, it prompted an equally extraordinary Twitter spat between said agent and Jamie Carragher. From that point on it became increasingly clear that the highly promising 18-year-old’s short time at Anfield was coming to an end.
The club for their part strenuously denied the accusation while a matter of days later Duncan was sold to Fiorentina for £1.8m and there he becomes the latest young English hope to export his talents to the continent.
Having been snapped up by the Reds for £200,000 in January 2018 after blazing his way through the junior levels for Manchester City the future of Steven Gerrard’s cousin appeared set in stone. He was going to be an idol of the Kop, a superstar for the club he supported.
Now it is in Serie A where he must turn all of that potential into goal-scoring gold and with the intrigue that brings – not to mention the numerous headlines his departure has generated – maybe it’s time we assessed how likely that is.
But just how good is Bobby Duncan and just how big a loss is he to the Merseyside giants?
Football Fancast gathered the views of those that know him best to find out…
As a schoolboy attending Cardinal Heenan High School in West Derby, Duncan’s natural finishing and all-round ability stood out, inevitably attracting serious interest from several leading clubs, not just City. It was here too that comparisons were first made to a stonewall Merseyside legend in front of goal, as per the Evening Standard:
“He just exuded confidence; he always has done. He had this undeniable self-belief that he was going to be elite, nothing was going to stop him.
“From the first trial and from the way he uses that left foot, I said he’s a young Robbie Fowler. That’s all I see. He’s not going to be that tall, he’s going to be strong in the same way, he’s going to have that neck like Robbie Fowler. It’ll be about him scoring goals. If he can add that work rate to it, he’ll be there or thereabouts at the elite level.”
The next Robbie Fowler? Fiorentina would be delighted at such a prospect. But a brief spell training with the Latics as a boy led to another lofty comparison, once again concerning a son of Liverpool who reached the very pinnacle of the sport, as per the Evening Standard:
“He’s just a typical street player; a raw talent. I think there are many similarities between him and Wayne Rooney in his physique and the way he plays his game and his upbringing. I played with Wayne right through the youth teams and the similarities are there for everyone to see I think.”
Check out fan reaction to Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal in the video below…
More measured evaluation comes from Lawlas, who last season saw his young prodigy blast home 32 goals for the Under 18s before his promotion to the under 23s; before it all went wrong, as per Goal.com:
“Since the first day, he’s worked hard and scored goals. He’s a real good striker of the ball and he scores all types of goal, plus he’s really opened up as to the parts of his game that need to improve.”
Had Duncan remained on Merseyside he would surely have developed into a player more than capable of terrorising Premier League defences and given Harry Kane something to worry about on the international scene.
Doubts about whether he will adapt to Italian football, however, at such a nascent stage means that while his talent is not in dispute the jury is out on if Stevie G’s cousin can construct a career to do the hype justice.