Belfast Telegraph

Skrtel excited by Reds' future

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel believes the impressive debut of John Flanagan this week underlines the potential of an exciting crop of Reds youngsters.

Reserve team right-back Flanagan, 18, gave a composed performance after making his first senior appearance from the start in Monday's 3-0 Barclays Premier League thrashing of Manchester City.

When asked about Flanagan's display, Skrtel told LFC TV: "He was brilliant. He is just 18 and on the pitch he looked like an experienced player I think he showed his best and he showed he can be a very good player."

The local-born youngster follows in the footsteps of fellow defender Martin Kelly, who has impressed in the same position this season but is currently injured, while midfielder Jay Spearing is also getting opportunities.

Other teenagers such as Conor Coady, Jack Robinson and Raheem Sterling are highly rated and have been on the fringes of first-team squads.

"The young guys from the Academy have already got a chance in the first team, like Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing, Flanno and Peter Gulacsi," said Skrtel.

"They are still young players but they are part of the first team. We can see they are the future of Liverpool FC and it is on the right way. These players can be big in the future of Liverpool."

Skrtel says the convincing win over City, which included record signing Andy Carroll's first two goals for the club, has done wonders for team spirit going into the final six games.

The Anfield side remain sixth in the table but are determined to close the gap to Spurs above them and secure a European place.

Slovakia international Skrtel, 26, said: "It was a great game for us. These few days after the game we have really enjoyed the atmosphere at Melwood. You can see the smiles on the faces and that is very important."

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