With the club’s current financial problems Liverpool may be forced to rely a lot more on their youngsters this season. Former manager Rafael Benitez strived to bring fresh young talent from around the globe to Anfield during his six-year reign and the club’s current youth and reserve sides are now packed with players with the potential to be the future of Liverpool. Below, FootballFancast analyses the top five Liverpool players to look out for in the near future.
England youth international Raheem Sterling is a player with outrageous ability having broke into the national u-16 side at the tender age of 14. The attacking midfielder was signed from QPR for an initial £2m and the fee could be set to rise to £5m should the player fulfil his undoubted potential.
Dubbed the ‘new Theo Walcott’, Liverpool beat off competition from the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea to land a player who is considered to be as good as England star Wayne Rooney during his Everton youth days.
QPR’s Head of Development, Steve Gallen, said: “(Sterling) has loads of natural ability. This boy can pass, shoot, head it, score goals, tackle, defend, anything.”
The future certainly looks a bright one for Sterling.
Signed from Charlton for an initial fee of £1.7m earlier this year, attacking midfielder Jonjo Shelvey became Charlton’s youngest-ever debutant at the age of 16 years and 59 days in April 2008. Similar in style to Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, Shelvey made 46 appearances for The Addicks over three seasons at the club and it remains to be seen if the 18-year old can make the step up from League One to the Premier League.
Having rejected the overtures of Arsenal to sign for Liverpool, the club were delighted to capture the signature of one of the hottest teenage talents in the country. Shelvey is keen to get his Liverpool career up and running and has set a target of playing a minimum of 20 games this season for his new club.
Charlton manager Phil Parkinson said at the time of his departure: “He’s an excellent prospect – I haven’t seen a better 17-year-old in the country.”
Following in the footsteps of three time European Cup winner Alan Hansen was never going to be easy for Liverpool’s summer signing Danny Wilson, but he’s giving it a good go nevertheless. £2m man Wilson, dubbed ‘the next Alan Hansen’ in his native Scotland, was voted the Scottish Football Association and Writer’s Young Player of the Year last season following his impressive displays in 24 appearances for Scottish champions Rangers.
Wilson captained the Rangers youth side before going on to become the club’s youngest ever player to appear in the Champions League.
His defensive partner last season David Weir is a massive fan of Wilson claiming: “He’s not the type of lad that gets carried away or starts to think he has achieved more than he’s achieved. He has kept his feet on the ground, he listens and, hopefully, he will go from strength to strength.”
Depending on his success, Wilson’s fee could eventually rise to £5m, but judging by his potential he looks like he’ll be worth every penny.
Wirral-born Jay Spearing is aiming to become the first local player in over ten years to graduate from Kirkby and attempt to emulate the overwhelming success of fellow Liverpudlians Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. The versatile midfielder has been on the fringes of the first team squad over the last few seasons and made his senior debut in the Champions League against PSV in 2008.
The energetic midfielder picked up two successive FA Youth Cups during his time at the Academy and was a key member of 2007-08 Reserve League winning squad. Spearing spent the final two months of last season on loan at Leicester City but is hoping for some more first team opportunities under new manager Roy Hodgson this season. Spearing has put in some impressive pre-season performances, even captaining a youthful Liverpool side for the last 30 minutes in Hodgson’s first game in charge against Grasshoppers.
Dubbed ‘The Assassin’ for his ability to put opposing defences to the sword, 19-year-old striker Daniel Pacheco is tipped for a bright future in the game. The goal getter’s electrifying ability has Reds fans excited having impressed regularly for Liverpool Reserves over the past few seasons. The youngster was signed from Barcelona by former manager Benitez in 2007 and is determined to make an impact this year after being handed the No.12 shirt ahead of the new season.
Pacheco was one of the stars of the UEFA U-19 championship this summer and finished the tournament with a runners-up medal and the Golden Boot award in recognition of his four-goal haul. The Spaniard bamboozled defences with his intelligent dribbling and clever trickery during the tournament and will hope to carry this form into the new season. He has obviously impressed new manager Roy Hodgson who gave him a full 90 minute run-out in Liverpool’s Champions League qualifier against Rabotnicki. Pacheco will hope he is given more chances to make a genuine impact this season.
Do you agree with the five players who made it onto the list? Have we missed anyone one out? Leave your comments below.