‘I knew it was a bad tackle, I did it on purpose and I’m not ashamed of it’: Ex-Liverpool academy player admits DELIBERATELY injuring a team-mate to secure a place in Jurgen Klopp’s FA Cup team
- Tom Brewitt admitted to deliberately injuring a team-mate in a bid to make his Liverpool debut
- He faced competition from Dan Cleary for a starting spot in Jurgen Klopp’s team
- The 23-year-old said he would try and ‘hurt’ his team-mate in training sessions
- Brewitt reveals he left Cleary on crutches for two weeks following his ‘bad tackle’
- The former Liverpool academy player insists he’s not ashamed of his actions
Former Liverpool academy player Tom Brewitt has sensationally admitted that he deliberately injured a team-mate in order to win a spot in Jurgen Klopp’s team.
Brewitt, who played for Morecambe last season before being released this summer, claims he was desperate to make the step up to the senior side and saw the opportunity to do so when the club went through an injury crisis during the 2015-16 campaign.
Klopp was light at the back for an upcoming FA Cup tie with Exeter during his first season at Anfield, which Brewitt believed was his moment to make his debut.
Tom Brewitt has admitted to deliberately injuring a team-mate in order to play for Liverpool
However, in order to win a spot in the starting XI, Brewitt was facing competition from fellow defender Daniel Cleary – a player he decided to ‘hurt’ in order to come out on top.
‘Whatever it took to do it, I was going to do it,’ Brewitt told the Football Journeys podcast.
‘If that meant hurting someone or ruining a relationship I had, I was going to do it. I was just desperate to play for Liverpool and that’s all I wanted to do.’
Brewitt, who captained the Reds in the FA Youth Cup, said he got on well with Cleary but believes he ‘ended the relationship’ through his actions.
Brewitt (bottom row, middle) was competing with Daniel Cleary (top left) in defence
‘Jurgen knew there was a crisis so he was going to play Jose Enrique centre-half and he was going to bring back Thiago Illori from his loan.
‘We didn’t know that until the first week of January, so running up to the back end of December it was [either] me or Dan Cleary who in my head was going to make their debut for Liverpool’s first team in this game.
‘Me and Dan always got on to be honest, but I think I ended that relationship. I took the decision, it was me or him, so I went after him in training.
‘Before Christmas and the time between Christmas and New Year, I put myself next to him in in games and I just kicked him. I wasn’t trying to hurt him badly but I was trying to hurt him enough so he was out the way and I would play.
‘It was about a week before the Exeter game and I took a bit of a heavy touch in a seven-a-side and he’s come in to tackle me.
Klopp (pictured in 2015) was suffering an injury crisis during his first season as Liverpool boss
‘I waited a split second too long and absolutely topped him, went over the ball, it was a bad tackle – I knew it was a bad tackle, I did it on purpose and I’m not incredibly proud of it.
‘I’m not ashamed of it, either, because in my head it was me or him and I was choosing me.’
Brewitt added: ‘There was a bit of a scuffle after it and I think he got sent in for his reaction. Rightly so [that Cleary was angry] as his reaction was probably bang on, and I finished off the session.
‘He was on crutches for the next two weeks, so it was sort of like, not mission accomplished because I think that’s a bit harsh as I didn’t want to hurt him, I just needed him out the way for this game.’
Cleary (right, pictured in 2015) was left on crutches for two weeks following Brewitt’s tackle
Karma would come back to bite Brewitt, who suffered a concussion the following week and would subsequently rule him out of the Exeter game. He would never feature for Liverpool at senior level.
In response to the podcast, Cleary, who now plays for Dundalk, tweeted: ‘Lucky to walk away from that tackle with my leg in one piece.
‘There’s [being] determined then there’s this [b*****d]… karma always works it’s way back in football… blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter comes to mind.’