Ex Rangers star who ‘destroyed’ Trent Alexander-Arnold without a club aged just 27

Brandon Barker (R) with manager Steven Gerrard during his time at Rangers
-Credit: (Image: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Former Rangers winger Brandon Barker, who once gave Trent Alexander-Arnold a run for his money, is on the hunt for a new club after parting ways with Morecambe.

Alexander-Arnold has faced off against a host of big names in his career to date, but his encounter with Man City U21s still lingers in his memory. The future England international was part of a team that suffered a 3-0 defeat at Anfield, with Barker orchestrating the game.

When asked to single out an opponent who hadn't quite reached their potential, Alexander-Arnold harked back to that challenging day in 2016. "I would say Brandon Barker, played for [Manchester] City," he shared on Liverpool's YouTube channel. "I was playing for the Under-21s, first-ever time at Anfield, got beat 3-0. He scored two and got an assist. I came off at 60 [minutes].

"Still to this day, he's the opponent I think that just destroyed me, man. I've never had it like that before. At that point, I'm thinking 'This kid is going to be the best player in the world '. Because I'd never seen someone move so quickly and sharp and so effectively."

While Alexander-Arnold's recollection of the game is slightly off - Brandon netted once and set up two goals - his feelings around Barker's performance remain strong. Since then, their careers have taken drastically different paths. While Alexander-Arnold is set for a place in England's squad for Euro 2024, Barker is on the hunt for his next club.

Barker penned a short-term contract with League Two outfit Morecambe in January, after being without a club since his departure from Cypriot side Omonia, where he had the opportunity to play against Manchester United in the Europa League. The 27-year-old winger made two appearances for the Shrimps before a severe hamstring injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. Last month, Morecambe confirmed that Barker had not been offered a contract extension, making him a free agent once again.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold has spoken about facing former Rangers winger Brandon Barker
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold has spoken about facing former Rangers winger Brandon Barker -Credit:BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP via Getty Images

A decade ago, Barker's future seemed bright as he was crowned City's academy player of the year. However, the promising star found the transition to the first team challenging, making only one appearance for his childhood club.

After stints at Rotherham United and Preston, as well as NAC Breda and Hibernian, he secured a permanent transfer to Rangers in 2019. Barker struggled to impress for Rangers under Steven Gerrard, leading to a loan spell at Oxford United, but he did receive a 2021 league winners' medal for his contribution to the Gers' unbeaten season. He briefly joined Reading after being let go in January 2022.

Despite his difficulties at Ibrox, former Rangers teammate Andy Halliday maintains that Barker's talent was always evident to those around him. "Brandon Barker. One of the best trainers I have ever seen," Halliday insisted "I know for a fact if you ask anyone who has played with him at any club - whether it's Hibs or Preston - they'd all say the same thing."

"He was at Man City when he was younger and apparently he was the one coming through at Man City at that time," he continued. "Honestly, in training, he would get the ball off the goalie, dribble by the full team and score. I'm not saying people thought Brandon Barker was s**** but fans would say he's not good enough but in training.."