Liverpool could owe a debt of gratitude to former manager Rafa Benitez for his part in revamping the Liverpool youth academy that has been in decline in recent years. In the summer of 2009 Kirkby was transformed with the help of Rodolfo Borrell and Pep Segura, who were key figures in the set-up of Barcleona’s academy. Benitez also brought back one-time chief scout Frank McParland to oversee the progression of Liverpool’s rising stars.
It is hoped it won’t be long before the next wonder kids are coming through and breaking into the reserve and first team. If the foundations that Rafa has put in place start to bear fruit then Liverpool stand to save millions on transfer fees. Who will be the next Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher or Michael Owen?
There have been places in the first team squad this season for the highly rated duo of Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly. So it appears there is already evidence that Liverpool can start to produce their own players again. The excellent youth and scouting system that has been put in place is not purely reserved to British players. Take the example of Daniel Pacheco, who is currently on loan at Championship side Norwich City. Pacheco was playing for the Barcelona academy before being recruited into the Liverpool reserves and then the first team. It remains to be seen how good of player he will be, but he certainly has a lot of potential.
The bottom line is the future for Liverpool looks bright and there is plenty of evidence to suggest Liverpool can produce some real stars. There is something about seeing your club’s youth players breaking into the first team and you just know these youngsters are thrilled just to play for the club. You do sometimes wonder with these foreign signings how much they value playing for the club and how much they really care. However, when a player has come through the youth system (even if they aren’t British) you feel they have become part of the family of that great club. They just want to go out there and impress the fans and you can be sure they value the opportunity they have been given.
The Premier League needs the next crop of young and hungry British players and I am delighted to see that Liverpool are doing all they can to produce them. Rafa Benitez did many great things for Liverpool and I am pleased to see even after he has left his legacy will live on through the next crop of Liverpool’s rising stars.
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