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Ian Baraclough lauds Liverpool starlet Conor Bradley after Northern Ireland loss

Ian Baraclough has claimed – in comments reported by The Independent – that Conor Bradley can be proud of his display on Tuesday as the Liverpool teenager made his first start for Northern Ireland.

Baraclough’s side’s hopes of reaching the World Cup next year are officially over. They were beaten 2-1 in Sofia and now find themselves nine points back of second place Switzerland.

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The result is all the more disappointing because the visitors had taken the lead and were excellent in the first-half.

But there are positives. And one that the country will certainly take from the game was the performance of Bradley.

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The 18-year-old made his first start for his country in the defeat. He produced a performance that plenty of fans lauded on social media.

Meanwhile, he was also labelled a joy to watch by the Belfast Telegraph.

And Baraclough has now suggested that the Liverpool teenager is one who can definitely hold his head up high.

“He can be proud of tonight,” he said, as reported by The Independent. “Starting the game, he’s dealt with that again as he has everything put in front of him, he’s dealt with it with maturity beyond his years.

“We’re pleased with how he’s maturing and we’ve just got to make sure that continues.”

Conor Bradley may benefit as Northern Ireland miss out on World Cup

Bradley certainly appears to be a player who will rack up the caps for Northern Ireland in the years to come.

And while Baraclough’s side will be disappointed to miss out on the World Cup, they can perhaps take some positives heading into the upcoming games.

They present an opportunity to take a closer look at the next generation who are going to spearhead Northern Ireland’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2024.

Bradley is almost certainly going to be a key member of that side.

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