Former Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie has hit out at the club for not allowing Ryan Kent to leave this summer.
After a successful season on loan at Rangers, Kent looked to be in line for another move away, but potential suitors Leeds opted to go for Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah on loan instead.
There is still a chance that Rangers could sign him again, as the Scottish transfer window is still open, but Liverpool appear to have priced him out of a return north of the border – much to his frustration.
Ex-Scotland international Gillespie believes that Liverpool have shown double standards by blocking his exit.
“The irony is that Liverpool let Harry Wilson go on loan to Bournemouth so that’s a strange one,” he explained to the Daily Record. “He’s at a similar stage in his career, so I’m not quite sure what the difference is.
“Harry Wilson was pretty successful at Derby County last season and Ryan was a success at Rangers but I don’t see the difference between the two lads.
“Ryan is a good player and would certainly enhance Rangers’ starting XI but he’s a Liverpool player and they call the tune.
“It’s not as if he’s a Lionel Messi or a huge name who can force the issue as we’ve seen so often with superstars who play up and get their agents to agitate for a move.
“But after what he experienced with Rangers last season he’s at the age where he needs to be playing on a regular basis for a big club and not just for the Under-23s.”
Gillespie admitted that Kent may not be good enough to step up for the Liverpool first-team, but certainly deserves to be playing regular senior football.
“Not many kids started at Academy level and reach the first team. Trent Alexander-Arnold has done it and Steven Gerrard did it before him.
“But you can stay too long at a club and I look at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott who probably stayed too long at Arsenal.
“There comes a time where you need to make that move to regular first-team football and sometimes you need to drop a level to come back up again.
“I saw the Old Firm game at Ibrox where Ryan Kent was arguably the best player on the park at Ibrox in December.
“And then he scored against Celtic at Parkhead so it won’t satisfy him to go from that to playing in front of 150 people for the Under-23s.
“The boy is better than playing at Under-23 level which won’t do him any good whatsoever. Liverpool probably expected to sell him and have that money to spend on other players.
“It’s a little bit of a shame for him because he’s probably not good enough to get into Liverpool’s first team but they want money for him as opposed to letting him go out on loan.”
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