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LFC Reserves & Youth Team Goals/Highlights

Liverpool U18s against Fulham u18s in the FA cup right now.
Live on LFC TV.

Check the where to watch thread
Nyoni is easily the best player in the u18s.
Koumas is the clear no 2.

Kone-Doherty (needs to improve his crossing), Morrison and Danns are OK.

I don't see a future in league football for the rest. But the first two are ahead of the rest by alot. Danns size might help but there's a lot to improve, especially his technique.

I think they're poorly managed too, the pressing is pathetic, defending all over the place, terrible positioning. Fulham are getting chance after chance, should be up by 3 goals.
Still 0-0 though.
Time to watch something else.
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There was a Jackie Morrison coaching in the Northern Ireland youth system qiote a few years back. He and his son both played for my home town team. Wonder if they are related.
Young Koumas with another 2 goals for the u21s today (7 in his last 8 apparently) and that's excluding the 4 goals in 3 games he has in the youth cup. I wonder if he's ahead of the likes of Gordon/Doak now in the youth developmental line.
If only Kone-Doherty had stuck to his country of birth - between him, Bradley & Morrison… Norn Iron would be about to rule the footballing world!!!!

View: https://twitter.com/ground_guru/status/1760590899963117955

Leeds United poach Liverpool talent in Thorp Arch recruitment drive under 49ers Enterprises

Who is Martin Diggle? New Leeds United academy manager profiled after Liverpool switch
Who is Martin Diggle?
Martin Diggle was the Head of Coach Development at Liverpool's academy, supporting those in charge throughout the age groups at the Reds' Kirkby complex.

Diggle arrives at Thorp Arch with a plethora of experience following roles at the Football Association (the FA) and Bolton Wanderers. He began at the Trotters as a coach, he became a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University in sports coaching after graduating with a master's degree.

He spent nine years at the FA where he rose through the development ranks before becoming the Head of Professional Game Coach Development on an interim basis for two years.

His career then took him to Liverpool where he was appointed as the Head of Coach Development - a post he has held for four years until his move to Leeds.

View: https://twitter.com/Carra23/status/1760937825606815784

There are obvious qualities a young footballer needs to impress an elite coach like Jurgen Klopp.

No one can play regularly for a Premier League club such as Liverpool without talent, temperament, courage and athleticism.

But during an in-depth discussion with Liverpool’s academy director, Alex Inglethorpe, he emphasises a crucial asset which explains why the club’s quadruple bid is being assisted by a golden era of youth development.

“Character,” he says.

“What makes me especially proud is that no one during Jurgen’s time here has failed because of their character.”

I ask Inglethorpe to elaborate.

“You work 10 years here to earn an audition in front of the first-team manager,” he explains.

“If you are going to fail to impress, make it because you are not quite at the level on the football pitch. It would be foolish to fail because of bad decisions made about the car you drive, the watch you wear, the training shoes.

“Jurgen is switched on to everything. If a kid turned up to first-team training with a 10k watch, he would see it. So would the senior players. You tell me, what would you think?”

“If the senior players think you are a big-time Charlie, the first thing they will do is give you a whack in training to teach you a lesson!” I suggest.

Inglethorpe nods.

At Liverpool, this character test has gone beyond advice. Inglethorpe informs me that in addition to a £50,000-a-year academy wage cap, under his directorship – now in its 10th year – a ‘car clause’ has been introduced limiting engine sizes to 1.3 litres, a warning of the dangers of too much, too soon.

“It is a safety thing as much as anything,” he says.

“I don’t want boys who have just passed their test with these big chunks of metal, but I was also fed up seeing a car park full of Range Rovers. If anyone turns up with one of them, they are parking it next door.

“We have a pay structure which is fairly old-fashioned. We give them jobs to do. We tell them to hand their phone over at 8.30am and give them back before they go home.

“You have been a senior player. You know how it is when a young player comes into the dressing room. You want respect for the pathway. They have to earn what comes their way first. All the other stuff is fine later. To get there you have to do it on the pitch.”

Alex is speaking my language, evoking memories of the legendary bootroom coach Ronnie Moran welcoming newcomers to first-team training at Melwood with the message, ‘we do not want any big heads here’.

“Trent [Alexander-Arnold] is a really good example,” says Inglethorpe.

“When you get to the senior squad, the best thing you can do is have senior players who become your advocates. There was no flash watch with Trent. I remember how he drove the same car for years. He’d wear the same tracksuit. As soon as he made the step up, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and James Milner invested time and effort to help him. It was the same for Curtis [Jones].

“Now that baton has been passed on with Trent the vice-captain ensuring the next along the line display the same characteristics.”

More academy graduates are passing the ‘auditions’, critical to Klopp’s latest trophy quest which continues against Chelsea at Wembley in Sunday’s League Cup final

There is an image decorating one of the walls at the youth training centre in Kirkby that gives me as much pride as any of my footballing achievements.

In 1999, the club commissioned a photograph of the seven home-grown youngsters who were fully established first-team players; myself, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Steve McManaman, Dominic Matteo, David Thompson and recent debutant Steven Gerrard.

Between us we won 31 major trophies for the club. I hear the club hopes to replicate that picture for the class of the 2020s; Alexander-Arnold, Jones, Caoimhin Kelleher, Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley the stand-outs.

On Wednesday night against Luton Town, six former or current academy players aged 21 or under played their part.

“It’s fair to say without them, Liverpool would not be in this weekend’s Carabao Cup final or going for four trophies,” I suggest.

“Credit to them all, but Jurgen is the difference,” says Inglethorpe.

“There are a lot of good academies out there, but not all clubs have a manager with the courage to play youngsters at big moments. He does not just give 10 minutes here and there with the team 4-0 up. There are so many examples when he has played virtually complete academy teams. There are times when I have looked at the starting XI and thought, ‘Wow, I’m not sure even I would do that’.

“Jurgen has not just talked about developing youth, he has actually done it. Caoimhin (Kelleher) playing in the 2022 League Cup final is the prime example. It would have been so easy to pick Alisson in the final. He believes in these players.

“There is a proud tradition of the academy providing first-team players at Liverpool – obviously you are part of that. But I have always said that it has to be more than about making a debut. That can happen for a lot of players, especially with the schedule and so many fixtures nowadays. What I want is the academy to play its part in winning the club trophies and fighting on all fronts.”

In addition to the more established first teamers, Klopp’s youth policy has seen Ben Doak, Bobby Clark and James McConnell regularly feature during this campaign. Like Harvey Elliott, they joined Liverpool’s youth set-up having started their careers elsewhere, academy policies across the country evolving to look beyond city boundaries.

“I wanted to win the battle in our own backyard first, getting the best from Merseyside – and then look further afield,” says Inglethorpe.

“There was a period when there were too many white, middle-class boys at the academy. We had 10 per cent diversity at one point and had to work to improve that. Now, we have players of different cultures and backgrounds and we are better for it.”

Liverpool’s union between the first team and youth set-up solidified when the training sites amalgamated two years ago. The rewards on and off the pitch are self-evident.

“We are aligned in that the under-21s and under-18s will try to do a fairly good [tactical] impression of the first team – taking on the non-negotiables. From the under-16s down we will prioritise different skills at different age groups, with more technical work,” says Inglethorpe.

“There is always a lot of understandable emphasis on the number of appearances by academy players, but from a purely business perspective, no one talks about the spending.

“There are some academies spending £40 million a year. We are nearer £13 million. If you think of £130 million over 10 years, what is the return on that investment? We have sold about £160 million worth of academy talent.

“We’ve been studying it and we estimate there is about £300 million of academy talent in this building. That can fluctuate, of course, but if you look at Jarell [Quansah], he is our fourth-choice centre-back this season. He ensured the club did not have to sign another centre-back last summer. What value do you put on that?

“A Premier League squad player is between £15 million–£25 million, and the average Premier League wage is £60,000 a week. So if you have three academy boys on the bench it could save somewhere in the region of £70 million a year.”

As well as players, Inglethorpe takes pride from the conveyor belt of coaching talent; Wolves’ Gary O’Neil and Tim Jenkins and Blackpool’s Neil Critchley are former staff. Michael Beale may have endured a tough spell, but there is expectation he will enjoy a long coaching career, as well as Steven Gerrard.

But the greatest pride is always seeing players who arrived as schoolchildren being on the threshold of becoming superstars.

“Watching them is like watching your own son. You only see their mistakes,” Inglethorpe admits.

“Some players are gold medallists – you know immediately they are going to make it. I am told Michael Owen was like that when he was here.”

“There was another called Carragher like that,” I interrupt.

“I heard he wasn’t on the podium and came through much later,” Inglethorpe laughs.

“I have tended to work with the silver or bronze medallists who come down the rails later. Even Harry Kane, who I worked with as a youth coach at Tottenham, was like that. Maybe I have a blind spot for the gold medallists.

“There are different ways to get there. Some players take the elevator, others take the stairs.”

Win or lose, many of the latest academy class are guaranteed to be going up the Wembley steps this weekend.
Inside how Liverpool find their uncut gems - and their incredible scouting reports: The Kindergarten Kop kids AREN'T just nepo babies

You've heard of the Busby Babes… now meet the Kindergarten Kop. Or Jurgen Klopp’s Kirkby Kids, maybe Xabi Alonso’s Adolescents next season. Whatever alliteration we want to force, the point is that Liverpool’s youth academy is thriving like few others in Europe.

Amid 10 first-team injuries for Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Luton, the substitutes’ bench featured five teenagers and the eight outfielders had an average age of 21, boosted significantly by poor old Andy Robertson, 29, and Kostas Tsimikas, 27, who must have felt like pensioners.

Both of those left backs still have plenty of elite-level football ahead of them but the pair, along with many in the best XI, know there is a cabal of youngsters waiting in reserve to take their spots. Some, like Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah, have already nailed down regular action.

In an FA Cup match last month, Liverpool’s matchday squad was made up of 10 academy graduates. No, it was not a cup tie against a lower-league opposition where rotation was a luxury. It was a trip to Arsenal.

‘Nothing would be possible without these boys,’ said Klopp last month when quizzed on Bradley, Quansah and Co. And he is right, these players aren’t just knocking about to make up the numbers, they are full-fledged members of Liverpool’s fight for a 20th English league title.

So while the likes of Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah may sweep up football’s Oscars in May for playing the role of lead actors in Liverpool’s fight for four trophies this season, this young, ensemble support cast should be highly commended, too.

Jayden Danns, the 18-year-old son of former Premier League midfielder Neil, is the latest debutant for the first team, coming off the bench alongside Bobby Clark and James McConnell on Wednesday from a team-sheet where you can almost smell the park pitches of youth sport.

Of course, many will not remember the trevails of Sunday League football. Danns, for example, joined Liverpool aged eight, while Quansah was first signed by the club from Warrington-based Woolston at just five. Others like Kaide Gordon have been poached from other academies.

The process of finding these uncut gems is much easier said than done. Liverpool have a web of scouts around the shires and abroad who attend youth matches and tournaments to spot the next big thing. For every one success story, there are hundreds who have not quite made it.

As a case study, Liverpool followed Bradley for a number of years before offering him a scholarship in 2019. He was playing for Dungannon United Youth in Northern Ireland and was recommended to them by word of mouth, with two scouts flying over to check him out regularly.

Joe McAree, a legend of Northern Irish youth football, is the man who unearthed Bradley after being persuaded to watch him by a local referee.
He recently told Mail Sport: ‘From the first day I met him in a cafe, he looked me in the eye and smiled, it just felt different.

‘For an 11-year-old boy it was just different, the focus he had. He knew what he wanted to be, he knew he wanted to get to Liverpool. This boy can get from box to box like a reindeer. I’m waiting patiently for him to move to midfield and be the next Steven Gerrard. It’s a fairytale.’

Another scout report from a few years back described Quansah as a defender who ‘eats up space’, before commenting on how he towers most on the pitch in youth football, is commanding and comfortable on the ball.
Watching him this season, that report would still work.

But Liverpool place a lot of emphasis on personality as well as ability. One source, a scout, says: ‘I’ll be looking at body language more than anything, delving into their background story, family history and character profiling. Human behaviour is complex even at that age.

‘Any top professional can see a good footballer but it’s more about looking at the detail beyond that. But we must acknowledge we are there to improve them as people as well as players. Don’t focus negatively on what they can’t do, change what they can do.’

Chances to succeed in this sport of fine margins if you’re from a football family, and Liverpool’s youngsters seem to have a theme of famous dads. Like Danns and father Neil, Clark’s father is former Newcastle star Lee, while young Lewis Koumas is the son of ex-Wales midfielder Jason.

At a slightly younger age level, Keyrol Figueroa, son of former Wigan and Hull star Maynor who won 181 caps for Honduras, was spotted while playing for FC Dallas in an Under 13s tournament.
According to his mother, he scored 90 goals last season in youth football.

Summer signings Harvey Owen, Amara Nallo and Trey Nyoni, who was on the bench on Wednesday, were all signed from other Premier League academies. Brexit rules have made overseas trading of youngsters harder so they have started looking closer to home.

Head of academy recruitment Matt Newberry, who also looks after loans after David Woodfine left the club, is key to this drive alongside Alex Inglethorpe. Much emphasis, even from the age of 11 upwards, is placed on data and video scouting.

As Klopp embraced debutant Danns on Wednesday, Luton’s boss Rob Edwards laughed, pointing at the teenage forward and said: ‘I played with your dad!’. A strong upbringing seems to be a consistent thread among all these kids but they are not all nepotism babies.

In Bradley’s case, mother Linda knew nothing of football before she started her unofficial role as the right back’s agent and taxi driver. Linda, plus late dad Joe, helped negotiate his deals - and originally turned down the promise of a scholarship and said their son must earn one first.

Another key part of Liverpool’s young recruitment strategy, of course, is a charm offensive. Simply being Liverpool is enough to tempt many, such as boyhood fans Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones and Bradley.

But in many cases they have had to fend off interest from other academies, such as young midfielder Tyler Morton, now on loan at promotion-chasing Hull City, and Danns, both of whom nearly joined Everton before Liverpool swooped to sign them at the last minute.

Speaking to Mail Sport, Morton explains: ‘I was quite a shy lad off the pitch. But you have to grow a personality even at that age to make it in football. I really grew into myself at Liverpool. I found a real love for footie and used to pretend I was Xabi Alonso in the park with my dad.

‘Half the first team are my lifelong mates! Conor has turned into a real top player. Everyone at the academy knew he would. Jarell as well, absolutely brilliant - I’ve grown up with him and trained with him since I was six or seven. All of us have been mates the whole way through.’

The friendly spirit is echoed in the camp, with several of the young stars meeting up with Morton in London for a trip to Winter Wonderland after Hull played QPR
and Liverpool won at Crystal Palace earlier that day, including Harvey Elliott who, beyond belief, is still only 20.

Just because players are out on loan, it doesn’t mean their Liverpool days are numbered - as might be the case at some Premier League clubs who stockpile talent. Quansah earned his corn at Bristol Rovers last season, while Bradley was Bolton’s player of the year.

Liverpool leave players to their own devices when out on loan, telling stars to put full trust in their temporary coaches. But many are given a brief that no matter how many divisions they step down, the loan club is doing them a favour rather than the other way around.

‘I’ve worked with a lot of loan players and none have made a bigger impact than Luke Chambers,’ Kilmarnock boss tells Mail Sport of the left back now on loan at Wigan. ‘What a diamond of a boy he is, Liverpool are lucky to have him.

‘He immersed himself in the cause for us. We get a lot of players coming from England on loan and some of them have an ego, it was never that with Luke, he was so appreciative of the opportunity. He grew up as a man, hosting Come Dine With Me cooking nights with the lads.’

So while the biggest talking point going into this season was the loss of several experienced leaders - 1,776 worth of Premier League appearances in exits - now the talk of the Kop is Klopp’s trust in youth and an academy once again the envy of Europe.
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