Burnley keeper signs pro contract with Liverpool

IN CHARGE: Ryan Fulton in action for Liverpool against Sporting Lisbon in the NextGen Series
IN CHARGE: Ryan Fulton in action for Liverpool against Sporting Lisbon in the NextGen Series

Burnley teenager Ryan Fulton was rewarded with a three-year professional contract with Liverpool on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old former Fulledge Colt has been with the Anfield club since being spotted playing at a Barrowford Celtic tournament in 2007.

And he has enjoyed a remarkable year with the Reds, helping reach the FA Youth Cup semi-finals, the last 16 of the Under 19 NextGenSeries, as well as the Singapore final of the NexLions Cup, and the final of a tournament in Qatar.

He is extremely well thought of at the club, with thisisanfield.com saying: “Fulton is especially highly-rated by academy observers as the best keeper to come through the academy for some time.”

The former Shuttleworth College student signed a scholarship with Liverpool two and a half years ago - a full year before he could actually start it, and father Brian was delighted with his latest achievement: “I’m over the moon with him, it’s brilliant news.

“He’s been with the club since the Under 10s, and all that hard graft has paid off with his first professional contract.

“It’s what he deserves, but the hard work starts now, he’s got to step things up another level.

“He’s seen off two Under 19 keepers, and now he has the Under 21 keeper in his sights.

“Everyone is pleased for him, he’s done really well.

“To sign a professional contract with any club is a big deal for anyone, no matter where you are, and to do it with Liverpool is fantastic.

“They’ve been superb with Ryan and us, they look after him really well.

“He has digs in Prescot, and comes home at the weekend, and he’s thoroughly enjoying it.

“It’s a long way from Fulledge Colts!”

A Rangers fan, as his father heralds from Scotland, Ryan is eligbile to play internationally north and south of the border, and he has been capped at youth level by Scotland, helping the Under 16s win the Victory Shield, while England Under 16s were also keen to recruit him, having been asked to go for trials in 2011.

However, Liverpool is his main focus, and building on a big year at the club.

Father Brian added: “He’s had a phenomenal season with Liverpool, and he needs to carry on pushing forward now.

“He’s shaping up well, he’s gone from a boy to a man, in terms of his size and build - he’s a real athlete.

“He’s definitely got the stature to become a goalkeeper.”

He was promoted to the Under 18s side last season at Liverpool, where he quickly established himself as the number one ahead of the likes of Tyrell Belford and Ryan Crump, featuring in both legs of the FA Youth Cup semi-final against Chelsea, at Anfield and Stamford Bridge.

He made his debut for the side in September in a 2-0 loss to Manchester City, and also earned a starting berth for the Under 19s in their run to the last 16 of the NextGen tournament, which was ultimately ended by Sporting Lisbon - producing consistently impressive performances throughout the season that drew much praise from observers.