Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Gerrard challenges youngsters to step up

Steven Gerrard wants the likes of Jordan Henderson, right, to be more consistent

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes the club's rising stars have to shake off their promising youngsters tag and prove they are good enough to compete for a regular first-team place.

Manager Brendan Rodgers gave seven academy graduates opportunities last season and Gerrard thinks it is time some start to take more responsibility.

"You only get described as a young lad for a certain amount of time and then it's time to become a man and perform on a consistent basis," he told LFC TV. "There is great talent at the club at a young age; the manager has been trying to get a young group of players together that can perform well for him."

He added: "It's a big season for a lot of players - you look at (Raheem) Sterling and (Jordan) Henderson.

"Of course it's a big season for every player we've got, but I think the supporters will be looking for the young lads to step up now, try to push people out of the way and become regulars in the team. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what happens with those young players."

Gerrard believes the way Rodgers integrated members of the club's academy into the first-team set-up over the last year is valuable to their development.

The Reds boss is keen to give youth a chance where he can and is looking to increase the numbers of players who make the journey permanently.

"The manager is fantastic with the way he does it; he invites a lot of young players down to train with the team all the time," the England captain said.

"It's great experience to come down and play with the first team. When they come down permanently, they have sampled it and they know what they're in for.

"I'm excited because if the young lads show the manager that they are good enough, he's certainly shown to everyone that he's not scared of playing them. It's going to be exciting."

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