Rodgers Waiting on the Next Steven Gerrard

Clive Brunskill

While most wait to see if Liverpool are in for another senior signing in the January window, manager Brendan Rodgers is looking to the future as he reflects on a desire to develop the next generation of local stars at the club's academy.

Brendan Rodgers may have spent November talking up the potential for January signings and then December looking to temper the hopes for a spending spree he had helped to raise, but with the transfer window now open the Liverpool manager finds himself looking even further into the future as he stresses the need for a continued focus on the club's academy.

"My big thing is getting young players in here from the local area—here in Liverpool," he said. "Name me the best two players in England in the last six or seven years—Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, and they're Scousers. So you can't tell me there are not top young talents in Liverpool."

Certainly no one would argue with him on that point, or that it's local talent that has long provided the backbone of the club up to and including current captain Gerrard and vice-captain Jamie Carragher. And after a mostly lean decade, that Liverpool's academy once again shows signs of being able to produce players capable of competing at the highest level, greatly improving the chance for future local success stories.

"I know it is sexy to look in Spain," he continued, "and I'm one who loves working with European players, but I want players from here, too. This club has a history for that with Carragher, Gerrard, Steve McManaman, and Robbie Fowler—and imagine if we could find more players like them.

"I love working with the talents and all my life I have worked with players from different parts of the world, but we mustn't forget what is on our doorstep and, for me, Liverpool is a hotbed for footballers. They have passion, hunger and incredible qualities, and we are looking for them. That is a massive part of my job and finding these players is something we are trying to put in place."

It's a commendable approach, though of course it's also little more than a reaffirmation of a commendable approach that was once again made a particular focus of the academy when it was overhauled in 2010 and the likes of Frank McParland and Rodolfo Borrell were brought specifically to find and develop the next generation of local stars.

One might also hope for an experienced signing or two in the meantime—and perhaps even for Rodgers to look for them somewhere it's "sexy" to do so given places such as Spain and Germany, in recent years at least, also tend to provide the best value for money when it comes to experienced talent. Otherwise it might be a rather long wait for the next Steven Gerrard to actually develop into something resembling the next Steven Gerrard.

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