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Academy chief hails Rodgers

Liverpool academy director Frank McParland has heaped praise on manager Brendan Rodgers for giving the club's youngsters the chance to make the grade as first-team players at Anfield.

Last Updated: 28/08/13 at 12:52 Post Comment

Brendan Rodgers: Giving youth a chance at Anfield

Brendan Rodgers: Giving youth a chance at Anfield

McParland, who has worked under seven different Liverpool managers over the last 20 years, has seen a number of academy players including the likes of Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard progress into becoming household names in world football.

And the 54-year-old has been particularly impressed with the Ulsterman's support of his efforts to develop and nurture the next generation of talent for the Merseyside giants.

"It's a proud moment when one of the boys actually runs out and plays for the first team but the main thing is just to concentrate on trying to get the next one in," said McParland.

"In the past all the managers have been supportive of the academy - they'd be stupid not to - because all we're doing is working for them and trying to get players through, but the boss is very keen on young players.

"He said from day one with me if they're good enough it doesn't matter how old they are, he'll play them and he's been true to his word."

Jordan Ibe became the latest academy graduate to step-up from the youth ranks to the first team after Rodgers gave the teenager his debut in Liverpool's final Premier League match of last season against QPR.

The 17-year-old made his second appearance for the Reds in Tuesday night's victory over Notts County and McParland believes this shows there is no better place for a young player to develop.

"The good thing at Liverpool at the moment is the manager will take 15-year-old players to train with the first team, so sometimes even though a boy might not play in the reserves he's actually training with Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.

"It's great the experience he gets from that - and not everyone sees that and we don't publicise it a lot - but that is the case.

"In the last three years we've had four of the five youngest ever players in the modern day history of the club that's Jerome Sinclair, Jack Robinson, Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe.

"The boss has been true to his word and we're going to continue working hard for him."

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