Steven Gerrard believes England Under-17 World Cup winner Rhian Brewster has to focus on becoming a “world class” player in order to break into Liverpool’s first team.
The 17-year-old was top scorer as his side won the tournament in India but former Reds captain and current under-18s coach Gerrard admits there is still a lot of hard work to be done by the youngster if he is to make the transition to Jurgen Klopp’s side in the future.
“He’s got to be patient, but not just Rhian – everyone has,” said Gerrard.
“We’ve got wonderful footballers in the first team, especially in the attacking positions, so it’s not easy breaking through.
“I think it’s getting more and more difficult as time goes by. These kids have got to be world class now.
“If you’re very good, you’ll probably be a little bit short, especially in the top-six teams in the Premier League.
“The message for Rhian is: ‘Well done. You’ve been superb and deserve all the plaudits you get. How do you improve now?’.
“‘How do you push yourself and try to move people out of your way that are above you in the pecking order?’. That’s the challenge for him moving forward.”
Brewster is expected to return to the club’s Kirkby academy on Thursday and while staff and team-mates will be quick to congratulate him the teenager will be put straight back to work with Neil Critchley’s under-23 team.
“It should give him great confidence, a fantastic experience and a hunger to go and do it again the further up he goes,” added Gerrard, who hopes to have Brewster available for their next UEFA Youth League tie against Sevilla in three weeks’ time.
“I love being around Rhian. I think he’s a great kid and he’s got a great mentality to work hard and improve. That’s how you get success as a footballer.
“My job and everyone else’s job at the club is to keep his feet on the ground and hopefully push him in a direction where he can be successful for the club.
“We want Rhian Brewster in a successful Liverpool team. We want him firing for the under-23s and, basically, making sure Jurgen is taking notice of his performances – that’s all he can do.
“I think if he’s got any dreams and aspirations of playing higher than that level then he needs to play at a consistent level and score goals heavily.
“That’s how first-team managers take note.”