Two years after leaving Liverpool under a cloud of controversy, Bobby Duncan is set to move on again with Derby said to be “furious” with his conduct this summer.
Duncan joined the Reds in 2018 in strange circumstances as he effectively sacrificed a year of his young career while on the books with Man City to force his exit.
The striker, a relation of Steven Gerrard’s, spent only a year with Liverpool in which he scored 30 goals and assisted another 16 in 43 games for the academy, before pushing for his exit.
His efforts to move on from his boyhood side drew anger from both within the club and among supporters, with his agent at the time employing desperate tactics to force the Reds’ hand.
Though he split from Saif Rubie after his switch to Fiorentina, Duncan’s trajectory has been similarly rocky since, with a move to Derby in September of last year set to be followed by another this summer.
According to The Athletic‘s Simon Hughes, though talks have broken down with Danish club Vejle Boldklub, the Rams are “willing to let him leave for free.”
This is partly due to Derby’s precarious financial position, but Duncan’s conduct has not aided his situation as he is yet to return to Pride Park following his failed negotiations with Vejle Boldklub and the club are “furious.”
It is a familiar scenario, and for a player with just one first-team appearance to his name – that being as part of a youth side drafted in to represent Derby in last season’s FA Cup – it sets a dangerous precedent.
Hughes adds that soon after Wayne Rooney’s appointment as Rams manager, Duncan approached him for talks as “he considered himself ready to push on from the under-23s,” but unfortunately “Rooney thought otherwise.”
The same happened at both Liverpool and Fiorentina, with the player and his representatives seeming to lack the patience required in a young player.
Elsewhere, Hughes has explained that the 20-year-old “didn’t cover himself in glory” while on tour with the Reds’ first team in America in 2019, and “Klopp took note.”
He wrote: “It was never really said or written at the time but there is another side to his story at Liverpool which suggests he realised deep down on the tour how far away he was from the first team and decided to go elsewhere.”
Whether Duncan eventually joins Vejle Boldklub or not remains to be seen, but it is clear there is a problem that he needs to address as he looks to make it as a professional.