LFC Talk

Are youths given a chance? by lfctalk
March 5, 2009, 15:33
Filed under: Opinion

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In this age of modern football, it seems harder than ever for young players to make the breakthrough into first-team football.

Manchester City were being commended for their attitude towards youngsters, but now they’ve got megabucks it appears unlikely that many more like Richards, Sturridge, Hart, Onuoha etc will appear at Eastlands while they are the richest club in the game.

Middlesbrough have had a thriving youth conveyor belt for a few years now, which has seen some good youngsters come through – Cattermole, Wheater, Johnson, Downing etc – but they are now in a relegation battle and it indicates that youngsters cannot be too heavily relied upon.

Here at Anfield, we’ve not seen a young player make a proper step up to the first-team since Steven Gerrard, over ten years ago. The likes of Stephen Warnock and Stephen Wright have flirted with being first-team regulars in that time, but we’ve not seen anyone really grab the bull by the horns – but are they actually being given a chance?

Of our current younger players sniffing around the first-team, there are David N’Gog, Emiliano Insua, Nabil El Zhar, Ryan Babel and Damien Plessis. Not one of those is a genuine, bona fide product of our youth system. Each was bought through the ranks at another club and then plucked by our scouts. Of those, I can only see Insua making any lengthy impact at the club anyway.

In our current youth/reserve sides, there are plenty of youngsters that look capable of making an impact on the first-team, one way or another, but the majority of those are foreigners that have spent the majority of their development elsewhere – a la Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Denilson and all the other ‘gems’ Arsene Wenger receives praise for developing…hmm

The local lads of note, are Stephen Darby, Adam Hammill and Jay Spearing. But can anyone honestly imagine that either of those will get much of a chance? Is it because they are not good enough? Is it because the risk cannot be taken at this level?

With seven substitutes now on offer each week, would it not make wonderful sense to put one or two on the bench each week and give them ten or fifteen minutes if the game is in the bag?


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