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Gerrard Inspires Liverpool's Successful Youngsters

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As they surged through to the last four of the FA Youth Cup last night, dreams of being the next Steven Gerrard were driving captain Jordan Lussey and his team mates.

Alex Livesey

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."

Albert Einstein

What are the personal qualities that help a young promising talent develop into a first team legend? Skill? No doubt. Courage? For sure. Tenacity? Vital. Yet how many youngsters have passed through the ranks at Kirkby, possessed of all of these traits, only to come up short of the standard required to gain a senior berth?

All the cliched talk of hard work and perseverance is somewhat disingenuous and presupposes that those who fail to make the grade, the overwhelming majority, are in some way guilty of sloth or indolence. This is, of course, highly insulting to those involved.

No, aside from the aforementioned characteristics and an abundance of natural talent, something more is required. It is an intangible, unquantifiable quality. Fowler had it, Carragher possesses it and it radiates from club captain Steven Gerrard. In some ways it's reassuring that such tremendous footballers cannot simply be manufactured but in others it is tragic. Messrs Borrell, McParland, Inglethorpe and Cooper no doubt deem it the latter.

Nevertheless, the admirable endeavours of those gentlemen continue apace and their charges are responding in a hugely encouraging fashion. Only last night, Steve Cooper's side progressed to the semi finals of the FA Youth Cup by dint of a facile win over Hull City at the KC Stadium. The coach praised the "professional performance" of his players and observed that they had "controlled the game."

Jack Dunn was on target for Liverpool again, with a late brace after Lloyd Jones had put the Reds ahead in the second half. Chelsea await in the last four and this fine bunch of youngsters will not fear them, boasting as they do, the impressive likes of Jordan Ibe, Jerome Sinclair, Dunn and captain Jordan Lussey in their ranks.

Speaking before the game, Lussey was unequivocal about how Steven Gerrard is a source of unending inspiration to the young midfielder and his peers. Gerrard, he avowed, was someone he'd admired since he was very young.

"I used to run around the playground pretending to be Steven. With him being a local lad as well, he's an absolute idol and someone I model my game around." The Under 18s' captain went on to cite Gerrard's 2006 FA Cup volley as his favourite goal and sees the Huyton man as "the complete midfielder."

Lussey, like many other promising kids in the Rodgers era, has experienced first team training at Melwood. Those occasions have only added to his admiration for Gerrard and made the England youth player even more focused on making the transition from Kirkby.

"I came back to the Academy full of confidence. It inspires you that bit more to get to Melwood permanently one day. We all look up to Jamie Carragher and Steven. I've read their books and they were in our position once. If we work hard that could be us one day. The fans want local players coming through into the first team but I don't feel any extra pressure because of that. In fact, it spurs me on."

Jordan Lussey then, is an impressive young man with the drive to succeed. Let us hope that he, and one or two others from this fine group of emergent talents, has that intangible, unquantifiable quality about him; that thing "that counts" and which has made Liverpool's Steven Gerrard an idol to so many.