Conor Bradley believes that the extra pressure of the Football League with hikers It made “miles better”.
Although the Northern Ireland international has tested the luster of the Champions League with Liverpool and featured in the Premier League, he says the pressure of playing two home-and-away games a week on his loan spell with the Whites has already paid off.
Bradley has been a hit since arriving from Anfield, and has scored three times, which means some positive reports are coming back to his parent club.
While on international duty, the 19-year-old is optimistic he will return to Merseyside in a much better shape.
“Just getting that match rhythm from playing twice a week has helped me tremendously. If you were to compare me now to what I was 6-12 months ago, I feel like I am a miles better player.
“It has been a huge thing that they have kept in touch and still want to know how I do and how I settle down.
“Liverpool have been fantastic in this way and I cannot thank them enough.
“It was the right time to take the loan move. I needed to get out and play as many matches as possible.
“It’s a huge learning curve for me but it’s a step I had to take and I can’t wait for the end of the season.”
Bradley also arrived in Bolton with a fair amount of international experience.
With eight caps already in place, the young full-back could double his tally by the time he returns in upcoming matches against Kosovo at home and Greece away.
Getting used to the extra football fitness of League One was one of Bradley’s biggest challenges, but one of them helped him by drawing on his experiences wearing the Northern Ireland shirt.
“Obviously I’m not used to playing under-23 football with Liverpool,” he said.
“So it’s been tough to go ahead and play against me, but it’s something I’m used to and I’m getting better every week.
“Playing football in Northern Ireland, and in front of the fans, has been a huge benefit. He helped me prepare for situations and first-team football. It has been a huge help for me to be out on loan this season.
“I just want to bring that momentum and confidence with me into the Northern Ireland squad and hopefully I’ll get a chance to play two games.”
Bradley received huge attention in Northern Ireland as he was propelled from Liverpool’s youth team into the international arena at the age of 17. He continued to make headlines this season with a great start in University of Bolton stadium.
But he is confident that despite his years of giving, he will handle whatever the loan period will take him.
“I feel like with the family behind me it’s easy to keep my feet on the ground, they make sure of that. It’s not hard to be honest,” he said.
“There will always be expectations for you and even when I went to Bolton I knew there would be expectations at that time.
“There will always be that much pressure but I hope to be able to continue to put in good performances.”