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Planning for a Scouse Future

As Alex Inglethorpe settles into his role as coach of Liverpool's Under 21 side, just when the careers of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard begin to wind down, he is keenly aware that a key part of his role is the discovery and development of a Scouse player or two for the first team.

Clive Brunskill

When George Eliot wrote "I desire no future that breaks the ties with the past," in The Mill on the Floss, she could have been articulating the thoughts of a good many fans of Liverpool Football Club, who see the connection to the club's glorious past as a vital element of any march towards future success.

Central to that notion of maintaining tradition, is the preservation of a Scouse soul in the playing staff. Alex Inglethorpe, the recently appointed coach of the Under 21 team, sees that task as pivotal to his role at the club. The highly rated November recruit from Tottenham Hotspur believes passionately that local players are "the lifeblood" of any club and he has prioritised that aspect of his work at Kirkby.

In an excellent and encouraging interview with The Liverpool Echo, Inglethorpe spoke eloquently about his decision to move from Spurs and his passion for the task at hand with Liverpool. Local players, said the ex-Leyton Orient man, "have always been a cornerstone of Liverpool's success," adding that "those who come through the ranks and devote their career to one club are the ones who are afforded legendary status."

It is fascinating to hear just how crucial Inglethorpe believes the discovery of native talent to be. "For us to have young talent from within the area is everything for us. I'm desperate for that one player who can go on to be an iconic figure at Liverpool in the way that Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher have done."

It is heartening to peruse the coach's record at Tottenham. From 2006 to 2012, he brought through the likes of Steven Caulker, Tom Carroll and Jake Livermore of the current first team squad, as well as Andros Townsend of QPR and Harry Kane of Leicester.

Using language reminiscent of that used by both Academy Director, Frank McParland and Brendan Rodgers, Inglethorpe insisted that the focus of his job at Tottenham, and now at Liverpool, was the recruitment of local talent and he spoke of establishing a coherent "philosophy" and establishing a "pathway to the first team."

The 41 year old revealed that he felt a "kindred spirit" with Rodgers, whose own background is predominantly youth coaching. Stressing the importance of "style," he suggested that "when you see the first team play now, irrespective of what shirts they're wearing, you know now which is Liverpool. For me that's a step in the right direction as that's how I remember the Liverpool of old. You could always tell them from their style."

There would appear to be a refreshing amount of joined-up thinking going on at Liverpool Football Club just now, with players and staff all singing from the same hymn sheet. When asked about the qualities he sought in young players, Inglethorpe spoke of the importance of "humility" balanced by the "bravery and self belief" needed to step onto the Melwood training pitch and perform.

With the likes of Alex Inglethorpe contributing to the building of Liverpool's future, fans can at least be sure of a high degree of rigour and professionalism. The work of this impressive young coach can only compliment the progress of Brendan Rodgers' first team. Let us hope that in the course of his labours he can unearth another Scouse legend. That'd be boss, that.

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