Liverpool have confirmed the recall of 19-year-old centre-back Morgan Boyes from his loan spell with Fleetwood Town, with the youngster having played just four times.
Boyes made a surprise switch to Highbury in August, having signed a new contract with the Reds at the start of 2020.
As a 19-year-old centre-back, it was a bold decision from Joey Barton to bring Boyes into his squad for the League One campaign, and ultimately it did not pay off.
Part of the matchday squad for the first four league games of the season, the Wales under-21 international started against both Wimbledon and Rochdale, along with a League Cup loss to Everton, before fading into obscurity.
His only appearance after October 3 came in a penalty shootout victory over Blackpool in the EFL Trophy last month, after which Barton grouped him among his “younger players,” describing the game as a chance for them to “match up against League One senior players.”
That is far from the situation Liverpool would have hoped for when Boyes headed out, and this has been reflected in the decision to recall the academy stalwart as soon as the January transfer window opened.
The club confirmed Boyes’ return on Saturday, with the teenager now likely to rejoin Barry Lewtas’ under-23s at least on a short-term basis, potentially with a view to leaving on loan again.
It is unlikely that his recall is linked to the injury problems facing the Liverpool first team at centre-back, with Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and possibly Billy Koumetio ahead of him in the pecking order.
Boyes’ recall shows the proactivity within the club to address a lack of opportunities for their young players, and it serves as the first major decision since Davie Woodfine’s promotion to director of loan management.
This time last year, Liam Millar was brought back midway through a season-long loan at Kilmarnock, while Ben Woodburn, Ovie Ejaria, Allan Rodrigues and Taiwo Awoniyi all had their deals terminated during 2018/19.