Steven Gerrard has warned Liverpool’s young talent that ability alone is not enough for success, stressing only “world-class” players make it into the side’s first team.
Gerrard, who made 710 appearances for Liverpool in a career spanning 18 years, will take charge of Liverpool’s Academy side for the first time next season, having returned to the club in a coaching capacity at the Kirkby complex earlier this year.
The 37-year-old has been busy selecting his backroom staff and, although relishing the opportunity to develop Liverpool’s U18s squad, Gerrard says his young players must be at their very best day in, day out, as they seek to work their way up the club’s ladder.
“There’s a lot of talent, a lot of talent, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: to play for Liverpool’s first team, you’ve got to be world-class,” the former England international told the club’s official website.
“You’ve got to be world-class every day; the values of our club will never change, so I am not going to come in and try and change any of the values.
“It’ll be more of the same, but trying to tell them that every single day you’ve got to be obsessed to play for Liverpool’s first team.
“We’ve got a job to do and that’s to try and push them and get every single bit of effort and determination.”
Gerrard, himself a product of Liverpool’s Academy after joining at the age of nine, is confident he will be coaching a talented pool of youngsters but claims times have changed since he rose through the ranks of his boyhood club.
“I think it’s changed – I think 10/15 years ago, you could play for Liverpool’s first team if you were very good,” he added.
“You can’t do that anymore because the players that are there are world-class, so to move someone out of the way and become a regular, you’ve got to be world-class.”
Gerrard will begin his reign at the helm of the U18s squad in early July and the new boss is ready to hit the ground running when the campaign gets underway.
“On July 3 they’re in for testing, so we’ll probably get on the pitch on the 4th or the 5th. It can’t come quick enough,” he said.
“I am really, really excited and we’ll see how it goes. I can’t wait to get my teeth into it.
“We made a plan at the end of last season, so everyone has a schedule for the first month and it’s all done.
“I am lucky because I have a backroom team that are very, very good and they’ve all helped me put it into place. I can’t wait for it.”
Current U15 coach Tom Culshaw will operate as Gerrard’s assistant, with the pair supported by goalkeeping coach Neil Edwards and analyst Scott Mason.
Meanwhile, the 37-year-old has made a recruitment from Melwood as rehab fitness coach Jordan Milsom moves into the Academy set-up.Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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