Liverpool dismiss agent’s claim they have been ‘mentally bullying’ player

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Liverpool have dismissed the claims of an agent who accused them of “mentally bullying” teenage prospect Bobby Duncan and breaking a promise to allow him to leave the club this summer.

Striker Duncan, the 18-year-old cousin of Steven Gerrard, has been linked with the likes of Fiorentina and FC Nordsjaelland in recent days as he seeks first-team football, but Liverpool reportedly rejected a £1.6million bid from the Florence club on Tuesday, calling it derisory.

Duncan scored 32 goals for Liverpool’s under-18s last season after joining from Manchester City and was on target against Tranmere in a pre-season friendly, but is thought to be frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities.

On Wednesday, Duncan’s representative Saif Rubie posted a lengthy statement on social media claiming Liverpool had previously agreed to allow the England Under-18 international to move on this summer and claiming the current impasse is threatening his client’s mental health.

Rubie wrote that Duncan missed the Liverpool Under-23 game against Southampton on Monday due to “deep mental health issues” because of the “stress of being told he can leave the club but (the club) then going out of their way to force him to stay against his will”.

Rubie added: “Bobby has not left his room for days because of this and will never go back to Liverpool again and my only concern now is his mental health and well-being.

“The Liverpool hierarchy have shown zero consideration to that and have even gone (as) far as saying in writing that they will punish him and make him stay at the club until January and beyond to teach him a lesson…

Tranmere Rovers v Liverpool – Pre Season Friendly – Prenton Park
Bobby Duncan celebrates his goal in the pre-season friendly at Tranmere (Peter Byrne/PA)

But Liverpool strongly rejected Rubie’s claims in a statement.

“Liverpool Football Club is aware of and disappointed by the unattributed comments and unfounded allegations that have been made in the media regarding one of our players,” the statement said.

“As the interests of the player in question are not best served by either inaccurate speculation, inflammatory statements or public discourse, we will be making no further comment.

“We will, however, continue our efforts to work privately with the player to find resolution in the best interests of all involved.”

Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher replied to Rubie’s post on social media, saying: “I know Bobby and his family well, he’s young and at that age we all want everything right now.

“Played for the first team in pre-season which is a great start and he should try and develop this season and maybe make the bench in the Carabao Cup.

“That should be the advice you’re giving him you (clown emoji)”.

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