Liverpool may need to recover from a difficult defeat to Aston Villa but possess a number of talented young players at the club. Whatever anyone thinks of the current approach to recruitment, finding and developing young players has not been a problem in the Brendan Rodgers era. Changes made to the academy and philosophy preceded Rodgers, but the manager has shown an admirable willingness to give young players a chance. Last summer's transfer window brought a number of exciting young players, and two of them have recently shared their confidence in a bright future.
Emre Can has already shown a maturity and adaptability for Liverpool in his first season at the club. The German youth international only turned 21 in January and has played a vital role in bringing composure to a three-man defence during a 13-match unbeaten run in the Premier League. Although that run ended along with a dip in Can's form, and a back four may see him shift around to find a position for him on the pitch, £10 million for a 20-year-old is probably the most successful deal of the summer. Can hasn't spent much time partnering Jordan Henderson in midfield but is impressed with the attitude, leadership, and performances that led to a lucrative new contract for the former Sunderland midfielder.
"He has had the confidence shown in him and it's great that he has been able to captain the team," Can said after Henderson signed a new five-year contract. "He has got a lot of qualities and you can see that on the training ground every day, as well as every game. He's deserved to be the captain. I can learn a lot from him - I am a couple of years younger than Jordan. He gives 100 per cent all the time and he works hard on his own game. He is full of confidence and never gives up. He is always there for the team, both on and off the pitch. [Philippe] Coutinho has also just signed [a new contract], and that shows the club has got a great future with young players. It's great that young players are signing these contracts for the club."
Another £10 million signing last summer, Divock Origi, has recently revealed that he has sought the advice of compatriot Simon Mignolet ahead of his arrival in the summer. Origi is a Liverpool player but has spent the past season on loan at Lille to continue his development. He's had a difficult time in Ligue 1, but his record is decent for a player who turned 20 barely a week ago at a struggling side. Lille's fortunes have improved drastically since the end of February with six wins in seven league games to climb to eighth. Origi, however, has been paying attention to Liverpool with a view to progressing in the first-team like Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe.
"To see the players develop and play in a top league in such a young team, for me it's very exciting," Origi enthused. "When you see how the coach and the staff work with the young players - how Sterling, for example, has learned over the years and how Ibe is now integrating with the team, it is very interesting. It is very nice to have seen that this season. The manager is one of the reasons I came to Liverpool - he's someone who has proven he knows how to work with young players, knows how to develop young players and also lets them play."
It's good to see that these young players from abroad are paying attention to how their colleagues are making their way at Liverpool. It's certainly attractive for talented players such as Origi and Can to see that there are opportunities for progress. Yet Rodgers and the club would be best served by adding some players who, while still young, are ready to make an immediate impact like Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Luis Suárez, Daniel Sturridge, and Philippe Coutinho. Such an endeavour combined with an approach where youngsters can develop over a number over seasons would help Liverpool progress as much as some of the younger members of the squad have done over the past few seasons.
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