6 Jul 2012

'He has promise!' - Rafa Benitez hails exciting LFC starlet. Succeed or fail?

The Liverpool first team squad is not a very inspiring sight at the moment, but a whole host of promising young players are currently learning their trade in the club's youth system, and former Reds manager Rafa Benitez has revealed his excitement over one particular Spanish starlet.

In his column for The Independent this week, Benitez hailed Vicente Del Bosque's approach to coaching youth players, and urged clubs in England to follow Spain's example of spending '80% of training time' on coaching players - specially youth players - on 'how to use the ball'.

Spain's dominance of world football seems set to continue, and Benitez highlighted several promising young players who can help Spain maintain their superb run of success, including Liverpool FC starlet Suso. He said:

"Keep your eye on Suso, the Liverpool player who will now be playing for Spain Under-19s at their European Championship. I tell you, he has promise!"

I really to hope see the likes of Suso and Raheem Sterling getting first-team game time this season, but the reality is this: not since the halcyon days of Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen have young creative players come through the youth system and flourished at Liverpool.

The question is WHY? For me, the answer can (partly) be gleaned from the club's historical approach to coaching youngsters. To illustrated my point, consider the following assessment of Suso from former LFC Reserve Team Coach John McMahon:

"He [Suso] will only have a bright future if he keeps working hard and listens to what the coaching staff are saying to him. But he knows that and we hope he will start working twice as hard now.

"We are looking at developing the whole player here. He has good attributes going forward and in the wide areas but he still needs to learn about the discipline and work that's required in a team, like tracking back, tackling and staying with runners. By playing him in midfield, like we did with Pacheco last year, it will hopefully add that other side to his game".

These comments made my blood boil when I first read them in 2010. It's the same old outdated English football thinking that has blighted the sport for decades: complete disregard for the creative aspects of a young player's game and the institution of a system of coaching that 'breeds out' creative instincts by placing the emphasis on tackling, tracking back and 'working hard'.

As we've seen many times over the years, this process of destroying a youngster's creative instincts leads to demotivation and disinterest, with the end result being the young player inevitably fails and/or leaves the club. And who can blame them when the coaching staff is pig-headedly focused tackling/tracking back/running etc.

Furthermore, McMahon's emphasis on 'developing the whole player' was equally maddening. Why does LFC need a team full of players who can do everything/play in 5 different positions?! What happened to developing postional specialists? Does Lionel Messi play in 5 different positions? Can he? WHO CARES. He's a specialist at what he does, and his creative talent has been nurtured and encouraged, which has allowed him to thrive.

The fact that McMahon is no longer at Liverpool is hopefully a sign that this outdated philosophy is no longer acceptable at Anfield. He's now at Tranmere, a club which is more suited to such an anachronistic style of coaching.

Much-missed Liverpool hero Xabi Alonso eloquently encapsulated the frustration I feel about the club's youth coaching methods in an interview last year. He mused:

"I don't think tackling is a quality. It is something you have to resort to, not a characteristic of your game. At Liverpool I used to read the matchday programme and you'd read an interview with a lad from the youth team. They'd ask: age, heroes, strong points, etc. He'd reply: 'Shooting and tackling'.

"I can't get into my head that football development would educate tackling as a quality, something to learn, to teach, a characteristic of your play. How can that be a way of seeing the game?

"I just don't understand football in those terms. Tackling is a last resort, and you will need it, but it isn't a quality to aspire to, a definition. It's hard to change because it's so rooted in the English football culture, but I don't understand it."

Thankfully, with Brendan Rodgers at the helm, the days of prioritising tackling and stamina are hopefully over. Indeed, Rodgers has stated many times that his number one priority in the coaching of players is technique and ball skill, and that's exactly the way it should be at Liverpool.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. cheikhabdou gaye2:08 pm, July 06, 2012

    suso is the future of livpool

  2. Why not emphasize all of it which would make the specialist even better payers at their special positions.

  3. Makes your blood boil?

    All players need to learn about discipline required to play in a team from a young age. The whole Spanish sqaud is testament to that!

  4. Where is the evidence that 'emphasising all of it' makes the specialists better?  How long is it since LFC has produced a regular first team winger/striker/attacking midfielder from the youth ranks?

    I doubt the likes of Barnes, Beardsley, Rush, Dalglish et al were coached to become versatile in 5 different positions.  All that extra time playing in other parts of the field = less time developing your specialist skillset.

  5. With respect, you're not really seeing my point.  Read Alonso's comment: the English emphasis on tackling, physicality 'getting stuck in'; stamina; running' fitness etc strangles the life out of developing creative players.

  6. Septimus_severus2:18 pm, July 06, 2012


    Is this the same Jaime who championed Benitez exit from Liverpool?

    Are you actually saying that Benitez is now worth listening to in terms of Players?

    Needless to say I don't want to quote some of your 'outbursts' from the past about him.

    It's ironic really when you travel as much as I do you get a better picture of what other coaches and fans think.

    I was on a flight from Netherlands recently, and was sat next to a Frank Rijkard who kind enough and open enough to engage with me.

    He stated that 'Benitez is one of the top 10 coaches in Football with no doubt'.

    No disrespect Jaimie and many of the fans here who jumped up and down waving the Kenny Pom Poms and the Roy Daggers.

    I'm no Rafa defender he had his faults but he is Statically the best manager we had in 16 years!

    How did we get to a place where now he's quoted by Jaimie and seen as a sage?
    People need to get out of the Liverpool/English bubble and get REAL.

  7. The academy has had a spanish touch for a while and i agree he does need to learn all the disciplines.
    One fact though is generally Liverpool have not had the juniors in past years who were good enough how many have left and been stars elsewhere?

  8. With all due respect, how many times do I have to say this?  I am not a fan of many aspects of Benitez's management style, but that does not mean that I think he has no qualities at all.  Benitez has positive managerial qualities too, and I have always acknowledged that, and the article archives prove this.

    Why does everything have to be so black and white?  It's incredibly simplistic to argue that the fact I've criticised Benitez in the past means that I don't have any respect for the man.

    People see what they want to see, and I believe in being fair.  I will critique players/managers, but I will also give credit where credit is due.

    Benitez's views have always been worth listening to; I may not agree with him a lot of the time but sometimes I do.  

    So please stop trying to make out I'm contradicting myself or something.  I stand by all the criticism's I've levelled against Benitez from the past, and I still believe it was the right time for him to leave in 2010.  

    That said, I have respect for the man and his achievements. That is not a dichotomy - it's just being fair.

    And I do not see him as some kind of 'sage', so please stop the tiresome exaggeration.  Benitez's point about youth players learning with the ball is pretty standard stuff, not rocket science.

  9. Definitely is annoying, imo, the way tackling is seen as a art of the game here. As a last resort, its important but beyond that,  for me anyway, defensive discipline in terms of positioning, pressing, marking, jockeying and interceptions (and the bigger picture) are more important. Its annoying when players go diving into tackles when there is no imminent danger to the goal, just stay on your feet. Probably one of the few things I don't like about Gerrard's game, with his eagerness to dive in to tackles. We saw it as recently as the Norway friendly. 

  10. I agree, and i think we should look at treating continental players as such rather than just trying to adapt them to British football so much, the best players in our league weren't drilled English ways between 16-22, they all came with there respective training that suited there talents and some (Torres/Silva/Mata/Alonso/Ballotelli ect ect ect ect) have lite up from the start.

    Play to their strengths and train them as such, let's face it we can't produce masses of quality so when we get some young quality from proven regions why change them to our 'ineffective' (said loosely) ways?

  11. Coming from Rafa it is amusing in deed. Isn't it the same Rafa who killed the creativity of Ryan Babel and Benayoun. Didn't he get rid of Sinama Pongolle and Anthony Latellac two of the best players in the world in their age group? Didn't he not bring in a host of youngsters from all over the world but never gave them a chance to play in the first team even though some of the first team squad were pure lumps of Sh-it. Didn't he buy all the players and play them out of position all the time for five seasons with his rot-ation polic? You do not need to be rocket scientist to see that the boys Suso and Sterling are special and they are knocking on the first team door. Rafa had his chance just as Dalglish but never used it. So now he can just move on and let the new manager get on with his job. When Rafa came he promised to bring back the Liverpool style of play with pass and move. But he never goth around to doing it even after five seasons with the club. Bought many useless players and wasted a lot of transfer funds. Altus bough three to five average players instead of buying two outstanding players that would have improved the team a couple of notches. Thank Rafa for your services. But keep your gap shut as your turn is over.

  12. With all due respect (in all honesty not much is due but I'll try),
    What football qualifications do you have?What football talent do you have?

    Have you ever coached or managed a football team at any level?

    My point being that history is littered with very exceptional persons who have been misunderstood by the people of their time and despite the proof being contrary they have had to endure ridicule (Galileo) and even death (Socrates) at the hands of their fellow humans.

    Finally, I would like to ask you if you know what its like to be a genius in a mediocre world but I wont bother as I already know the answer. Judging by your posts how could you possibly know what its like?

    Think about it... a mediocre fan base deserves a mediocre team. Get it?

  13. messi can play across the midfield and up top he is a team player that does track back and works hard for his team, if he can do then any other so called creative player can to.

  14. 'Halcyon days of steve mcmanaman, Robbie fowler and michael owen'??? Hardly!! I can't remember one season where we were challenging for the league past march when those guys were in the team (although not denying they were great players but that era was hardly deserving of that description). 

    On the other stuff, I do think you're missing the point when it comes to coaching youngsters. Playing a young player in different positions isn't to teach them so they'll be versatile at playing everywhere, it's to teach them that no matter how much of an attacking player you are you still have a responsibility to defend (the quality of mcmahon's coaching is still up for debate however, but his reasoning is sound). The spanish, barcelona etc, watch them play when they haven't got the ball... first thing every player does is work his hardest to press as hard as he can get the ball back as soon as possible. Something Rodgers tries to emulate in his teams. Therefore playing a young attacking but defensively lazy in midfield helps educate them of this responsibility it's not to try and stifle their attacking instincts but to create a better all round player. There are very few creative players in the world at the moment or of all time who have reached the very highest level in the game that don't also work hard pressing and defending high up the pitch, and that's not just in England but everywhere. 

    I'm the first person to agree that coaching at youth and grass roots level is poor in england and doesn't focus anywhere near enough on the technical/ patient ball retention side of the game (coaches over here assume that if you can kick/ control a ball properly as a kid you can play and that's the extent of your technical coaching- which is pathetic as anyone can improve), however this doesn't mean that you should for-go any sort of defensive coaching either. The reason, spain dominate at the moment isn't just because they're incredible with the ball, it's cos they're incredible without it too. 

  15. very good article jaimie, ive had similar coaching, being tall i was told flick it on, get up in the air etc when my best skills were ball to feet, beating players with speed and power and quick 1-2 touch football, i loved 2 touch in training, i loved 5 a side, i enjoyed playing in different positions to see the game from other points of view, but as a tall player, with speed and power id last 20mins listening to my manager who wants usain bolts speed to get back which kills ur eneregy no matter how fit i was i had needed to preserve energy not go exploiting my skills to defened. suso is a good player but i feel we wont see the best of until he goes back to spain. i feel the english game has suffered from this work hard, get him, tackling him etc etc. desire is the biggest motivation.... the will to win will make u run tackle etc IMO

  16. If babel, Pogolle and Le Tallec were that good how come they disapeeared into relative obscurity. Le Tallec was over-rated, Babel has no footballing brain and constantly ran into blind aleys

  17. I'm sure my brain is failing, this is the second time in a week where I have agreed with Jaimie K. but he and Rafa do make sense.

    They're coming to take me away hey hey!!!! 

  18. liverpool bought every 1 of those players

  19. Rafa Benitez was trying precisely to inject this approach into the DNA of Liverpool FC by bringing in a host of youth coaches from Barcelona and through his purchases on the transfer market. One characteristic of many of the players brought in by Rafa was their technical ability - one only has to look at the quality of players such as Alonso, Torres, Reina, Agger, Lucas, Johnson, Sterling, Suso and even the much maligned Aquilani (whose problem was more on the injury front than any part of his game). Hopefully Brendan Rodgers will continue the Rafalution and will be up to the high tactical and technical standards set by Rafa at Liverpool.

  20. Alonso's quote of tackling not being a quality is absolute pure tosh Jamie and something you should stop pushing, as this is not the first time you've quoted it....Fact remains most teams remain without the ball for at least 40% of the time....(that's if you're playing for the best teams..ie Spain or Madrid...for arguments sake) and even then you actually only touch the ball a set % of time also....so most of the actual time you are actually spending in a tackling situation so the fact the he doesn't see tackling as a quality is ridiculous....especially coming from someone who plays in the engine room...!!! Either Alonso is a thick....or he hasn't learnt a thing about the game full stop. !!!

  21. Can Gerrard flourish in every position YES
    Does he not posses every dimension of the game YES
    Would you want a team of Gerrards YES

    Then teach our youth team as much as possible !!!

    (Henry was thought to be a winger until he was played out of position as a striker . . .)

  22. Suso, Sterling, Teixeira etc are stars already, we see their quality on LFC tv........................amazing talents!!!!

  23. Jaimie...you should really stick to something other than talking about football.  To quote the new manager.  Think ill take a note from his way of thinking.

    “The third group are the critics and you never change them ever. Ever. If you win 4-0 it should have been five, if you win the league you should have won three. But I will never worry about that group, because you can never affect them."

  24. Alonso's trophy haul and influence at the highest level would seem to suggest he's on the ball.  What do you think?

  25. Naturally you would have liked to see the likes of Dalglish,Hunt,Rush,St John,and many many more strikers being played in various defensive positions to "round them off" ! What an asinine idea that is!

  26. I have to agree with you Jamie on this one. Best answer is how the English team preformed in the Euros! I can't see any real creative talent whatsoever unfortunately! And indeed we are killing that talent before it even reaches the first team!

    I really have high hope with Brenden in charge now, seems like he has a fresh vibe that might inspire those players to shine.

    Well done again Jamie, great post.

  27.  So we don't all dream of a team of Carraghers ? ;-) For once I actually wholeheartedly agree with your article. Remember that Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle were more promising than that rather good (I hate to say this) Ronaldo.

  28. Paul Merson did an article about this as well, for sky sports, talking about how English coaches are killing the creativeness of players by making them choose the simplest option and become work horses. He even gave a special mention to Joe Cole who he thought would become the next Paul Gascoigne, but had the creativity beaten out of him. Just goes to show how far behind the English system is behind other continental national systems.

  29. Wasn't it Benitez who bought in John McMahon to coach the youngsters in the first place? Talk about irony...

  30. As much as it distresses me, because we ruined them.

    There is a time in a players career where they have to be developed. Since Stevie G, we haven't produced anyone because we have ruined them in their formative years. It took one of the best five midfielders of all time to come through our system.

  31. Where's pacheo? Wasn't he more promising than suso?

  32. sorry Jamie,
    Disagree with you on this one.
    As i understand , Rodgers "tika taka" is based on 2 main notions
    1. individual skill, technique, passing, etc

    2. the team plays in 7-8 Libras /zones, and that means that the team play as a full unit.
    Thats why mediocre4 players of the likes of Swansea, have and can play th beautiful game, AND go away from home and beat the best clubs.

    im not reffering to hoofing the ball, and "getting stuck in"
    but tracking your player, and without doubt stamina ( 89 minute goal etc) plays an essential part in todays modern game.

    i do agree with Xabi, that Tackling is a last resort and important, but not one that any player should want on their roster of abilities.

    coz basically it means they cant pass, shoot driible score, or mark, or play positional manouveres, but just have the ability to kick the shins off the opponets players..

    well we can all do that, and especially for 70k a week!

  33. This has been obvious to ANYONE that has watched England play for the last 10 years.. technical garbage that can barely dribble or complete a pass... but hey... they're hard tacklers so they must be good!..and it will only get worse under useless ferret face woy.. stale defensive players are his first choice..

  34. In my opinion, there shouldn't be such an emphasis on tackling. Its like what Xavi said in a interview, he was talking about how the game was moving more towards the physical side in terms of pace, muscular frame, height, power, strength rather than the skillful finesse side. He said he felt lucky that he was able to come through those hurdles and prove his capabilities, and thanked the faith that was put in him. 

    In England, the sole perception is that if a player is tall, muscular, fast, or can be a juggernaut with the ball (Andy Carroll) he has what it takes to be footballer. Has anyone seen Messi with his shirt off, he isn't even that ripped and he is the best football player in the world. My point is, Suso and Sterling look like sticks compared to the average player in the premierleague, but IMO I don't think they will fail because of it. In fact they might just excel because the defenders would just bundle them with fouls and get cautions because they are Suso and Sterling are more agile and skillful around the ball. Just take a look at David Silva.I would also like to point out another important point. Some times when a  player try's to become physically stronger or add some lbs they may end up being a poorer footballer unless they have the same body aesthetics as Ronaldo. Does anyone remember Ryan Babbel in his first season with Liverpool, he was actually good on the ball and had a fair bit of skill. Fast forward it a year later, he put on some serious muscle but was more clumsy and hulky with the ball as a result.  

  35. how can you learn to tackle btw. Is there a specific way in which you can tackle a player, more so than practicing a pass on the outside of your foot, or taking a shot the proper way. Tackling is so different in every situation that what Alonso is saying is true. Tackling is a last resort, because there is always a random way in which you can tackle a player. Adam and Lucas tackle, the only difference is that Adam doesn't have the speed. You can't teach speed, so how can you teach Adam how to tackle? Yet you can teach both sets of players how to pass the ball, use it, and see a player in open space. That is the real lesson to learn. One that the English never learnt going into the Euros this year. 

  36. you forgot Maxi, who was signed on the free. More tactical knowlege than Downing and Henderson combined. 

  37. I have never EVER agreed with an article more than this. Liverpool's obsession with grafters is maddening and is poisoning the club. To be honest I DON'T dream of a team of Carraghers, but I DO have nightmares about it. We need balance, hopefully BR will bring it. 

  38. Or have they been judged not good enough for the wrong reasons?

  39. Exactly, I like to call it the Quaresma effect. Certain players must feed off their own confidence and if you take that away from them, they have nothing. I love Benitez but if you ask me what the worst thing he did was, it wasn't selling Alonso, because that situation had more to it then most people realize. It was his treatment of Babel. If Babel had gone to Arsenal he would have been a world beater. With his confidence ruined, it can be difficult to get it back. 

    These kind of players need good man-managers. Mourinho is better than Rafa in this regard. So for that  matter is Brendan Rodgers. 

  40. Good points but you have to look at WHERE those creative players for Barca do their defending. It is very high up the field, in order to facilitate a quick counter. They aren't tearing all the way back to their own 18 yard line, like we have been telling our attacking players to do. 

    The problem that Jamie is talking about here, is by urging your attackers to drop THAT deep to defend, you end up taking them away from their natural game, and end up getting them to mostly do what they are not the best at doing. It is ludicrous. No wonder their confidence drops!

    I am sick of seeing it at this club TBH. Talented players slowly losing confidence until they are loaned out, and then inevitably sold, while the Dirk Kuyts, and Jay Spearings, hold down starting positions week in and week out. 

    Brendan Rodgers will be fantastic though. One thing he has said in his interviews, it that when new players and youth arrive, he says "I give you permission to play your own game". I don't think people realize what a fantastic coach we have in him. Only thing that worries me is if the Americans will give him a decent amount to spend...

  41. Don't drag JC into it and make him out as a reason for recent failings. The reference to a team of caraghers reflects his loyalty and commitment to LFC. Despite running on empty his desire to put in body in the way of shots in the Istanbul final as an example. Amazingly I sort of agree with Jamie and he is right in the fact that who has come from the youth ranks in the last 10 years other than defenders. Part of the problem is that spending £10m on a player automatically gives him more opportunities than a youth player. If you look at our spending in the past big money buys are all offensive players. Maybe our lack of financial muscle will by default give one or two players an opportunity.

  42. Dalglish did occasionally play in defence to "round him off" when coming through ranks at Celtic.......

  43. thats exactly what rafa is pointing out they were coached by the likes of mcmahon and others and the flair was taken out of their game that is why rafa got shut of all the coaches and highway because of that reason , babel was and is a lazy player with a bad attitude and is now on the transfer list at his club what does that tell you ? Sterling would of been ruined if it was not for rafas overall of the coaches pogolle and le tallec were with out doubt very special tallents when we picked them up but the wrong coaching ruined their game and they never fullfilled their potential .

  44. Mr Lennon our club was based on your points as we have heard about shanks and bob and joe when we bought a player they were told to go out and play your own game while reforming to the needs of the team when needs must this thinking brought us untold prestige. trophys, fans , and coaches from around the world to see how to play the liverpool way since them three managers we have tried to play to this system that system this player out of position that player out of position and we have underachived let players play and they enjoy them selves resulting in better performances which breads confidence I watched Liverpool up until end of the season and we do not look confident mainly against the teams below us why ? I think it is because they cant express them selves due to systems it dont matter if you like a player or not but he can only play how he is instructed look at suarez how frustrated does he look with the other members of the team he goes out and expresses his skills with out fear of retrebution from the manager or the fans look at the barce players from back to front they all express their skills with out fear why because they have been coached that way it works as we all no from barce and spanish national team

  45. Coliemac
    Alonso is correct tackling is a last resort by this i believe he means the last ditch tackle throwing your self and your body in the way such as scotty parker does for spurs and England what did he achieve during the euros nothing exceptional except throw himself at a players feet or the ball I am not slagging him for that but look what Alonso achieved during the euros you did not see him throwing him self at the ball like scotty or any of his team mates and they won it because they played football using the ball using their skill in passing the ball so I think Alonso is correct mate

  46. That was because he was not a sucsses as a winger and Arsenal had forward thinking coaches who spotted his potential as a striker as Sir Bob did with ray Kennedy who became the best left sided mf in europe this what top coaches do Mr Fox ordinary coaches with poor planing resultin in piss poor peformances remind you of the last three seasons Mr Fox

  47. We need to be careful to distinguish between a willingness and ability to do hard work and needing to get into a traditional "English" style. Sure, creative players need to be creative and develop their attacking talents but there is no question that every football player needs to be capable of working both on and off the ball, both in attack and in defence. That's just unquestionable. Creative players can't be lazy, they can't just skip around in the front third only taking an interest when there is a chance to attack. They need to be able to pressure the ball and play effective and efficient football when they are actually not in possession. If a player only has on-ball skills then they will only be useful when they are on the ball. Consider the amount of time an attacking player actually spends with the ball at his feet and it's pretty clear that there has to be more to their game. 
    This won't change under Rodgers. Just look at his comments re: Craig Bellamy: "I like his intensity, his work-rate and his passion so I would love him to be here". Notice in particular the word "work rate". It's a term that has been applied countless times to a player that JK had little appreciation for in Dirk Kuyt but yet again we have an accomplished and trusted manager using the term to describe the kind of qualities he likes to see in a player. Of course working hard is important. Of course tracking back and pressuring the ball, working when not in possession is important. It would be idiotic to say otherwise. Rodgers implemented a style at Swansea that had every single player working tirelessly and he's already made countless mentions of what he expects from players: slog your guts out 100% and leave nothing on the pitch. So if a young player shows a basic inability to do that hard work or a simple unwillingness then he's not going to get first team opportunities. Maybe in the reserves or the Championship you can get away with but it will get you no where at LFC. If that's what previous staff members have said about Suso or even Raheem Sterling then I'll be with them 100%. 
    If they go further and say that these players need to be able to get stuck into a good tackle or be able to muscle players in the penalty box then I agree with JK, it's total nonsense. Creative players don't need those skills and the current mob of Spanish stars show that. You don't need to be able to tackle or go shoulder to shoulder to be effective as an attacker, although it helps if you can. If you are willing to work hard and simply put yourself in the right position, with or without the ball, then that should be enough. Defenders will then need to be able to tackle while attackers should be able to get past players with skillfull footwork or pure pace. Those two sets of skills can easily be mutually exclusive. Hard work, on the other hand, is mandatory for everyone, for 90 minutes of every game. 

  48. I think it was on recomandation of Sammy Lee mate

  49. football can be played and enjoyed by anyone anywere at any level but skill is what your born with like a child who is born gifted they are then encouraged to take their gift as far as they possibly can by people with the same back ground educating and fine tuning their gift unlike gifted footballers who are told to forget their gift but play like all the others have a work ethic dont use your imagination but do the simple thing by people far far less gifted than themselves . when I watch messi play football I think how can you coach that what coach is good enough to install that in to a player then i think no no one coached that boy he is gifted but he is allowed to express that gift to the benefit of all football fans across the world . coaching and coaches should be educatated on educating youth with skill that they need diffrent teachings than youth with lesser skill as with our education system secondary , public, private education if a child is born a genius in maths you would not ask them to do their two times tables in class because other children are not so gifted . I would pay as much as it took to watch skill I would not pay a penny to watch a team of carras ( no disrespect to carra )

  50. A lot of decent players have had thier confidence knocked right out of them, when they have made a mistake, a bad pass the wrong pass,then instead of encouragement, (the crowd) we the supporters have shouted and taunted them, we have broken quite a few potentially briliant youngsters ourselves, with this sort of behaviour. Players need support from the supporters and encouragement instead of abuse, which will lift the spirts of these young lads, which will make them better players, being scared to make a mistake in fear of the crowds taunts wont breed confidence in these players, in fact it will have the opposite affect so we need to educate our supporters also. An example of this was with the unfortunate Young man Insua and only for Lucas leiva being more of a strong minded individual, he could have sufferd the same fait as Insua, who was looked upon at one time as an up and coming prodigy. A new era dawns, lets get fully behind our team and manager this coming season, Patience and encouragement, will breed confidence which in turn will no doubt bring greatness back to our club. I believe RedMan4Life.

  51. This has been one of the best threads I've ever read on LK because people have mostly stuck to discussing the issues, presented different viewpoints but not got personal and been silly.

    A team of Carraghers has nothing to do with his footballing style but everything to do with his commitment and desire to give his all for the team so on that score, yes I'd pay good money to see a team of eleven men all working together, all utterly committed to winning, all disconsolate when they lost rather than just looking like 'hey ho, there's always next week!' and all playing from whistle to whistle.

    But the point about having skill and confidence coached out of a player is a very important one and some have dismissed it all to lightly. How about this for an example: Take a young guy setting the world alight with his superb skills. He's only 17 but he can dribble, keep the ball, pass, position, take on players and unerringly find the net often by bamboozling the goalie. He does it all so well a top team pays a huge sum to buy him. In the first couple of seasons he does spectacularly well and everyone is excited about his future contributions to the national side. But then slowly but surely he is coached that he has a responsibility to defend, to run all over the pitch and get stuck in. Gradually people applaud how good he is at getting into his own box and defending but they seem to say less and less about his genius in front of the opposition's goal. People still have high expectations of him up front though, not as a defender. In midfield he plays half defensive and half attacking. He gets everywhere but doesn't achieve much. As a striker he is often out of position because he's been playing too deep and has been too much of a provider and not enough of a finisher. In two major championships, the World and the European, he is feted as being the talisman of the national team but fails to deliver and is seen as a failure in the inevitable post championship critiques. Now he is seen as over-rated rather than the world beater he once was.

    The above pretty much somes up Wayne Rooney!

    I say that to make the point that this style of coaching has been endemic in the English game, not just at Liverpool. He plays for a team that has been fantastic in the EPL, has beaten everyone to titles and trophies (albeit not this year) yet when they come up against a side like Barcelona, they are shown up as being in a different, lower league to the cream of Europe.

    We have a long way to go and it won't happen overnight but if BR can achieve over the next three years a side that starts to play the beautiful game beautifully, other teams will go that route too and there is hope yet for English football!

  52. yes he did and if  am not mistaken Gerrard started at right back. Oh and carra has played left back, central mid and right back. All 3 liverpool greats . Its wat  they did and do at ajax and many good players have come from there.
    Players dont  break through because they are not good enough simple.

  53. RobBarron your quite right but as far as coaching goes after the euros I heard that English FA are going fast track people into coaching courses I take my hat off for their want to improve our coaching but you can put a hundred people through an aprentiship as a bricklayer or a joiner and they wont all be as good as each other as will happen with this scheme of the FAs . I hope I am wrong about this but having been involved in grass roots football all my youth and adult life and at 54 yrs  of age I cant see great improvements firstly I see a lot of youth games due to watching my grandsons and the facilitys they have are to put it mild unbelivably poor children playing on adult pitches every council ground I visit dont provide for youths I am harping on about this because this is were the footballers of tomorow will come from and what I have seen of the coaches running the teams most of them are doing it because little Johnny their son gets a game this is wrong they go on local coaching courses and think they are pros I have watched these courses its all about setting up training schedules asking kids to run around cones how to pass the ball stay in position when they should be concentrating on improving skills not win at all cost some of these coaches have gone on to pro clubs coaching the cream of the country my mind boggles  

  54. Theycallmemrburt5:34 pm, July 07, 2012

     Good points but in the case of Joe Cole it was Jose Mourinho who did most of the talent beating.

  55. My real point though is underlined by
    Gerrard, who wouldn't want a team of
    Stevie's allround talents ???

    I reiterate: teach youth as much as possible !!!

    I get what you're saying about Kennedy
    Though, i have supported since the days of Shankly

  56. Working hard is exactly what Liverpool will need to do under BR.

    It is what the Barca and Spanish systems are built around, pressing high up the field.

    When Xabi mentions tackling he must be referring to aggressive, lunging tackles - like Gerrard's in final pre - Euros friendly.

    Standing tackles are an art form in themselves. Full blooded sliding challenges have essentially been outlawed at this stage.

    Belluchi's toe poke sliding tackle on Ozil in Euro's was also a thing of skill and beauty

  57. Find it HILARIOUS how the OP uses Messi as an example of why you dont need to teach hard work and defensive discipline, every single one of the barcalona team work incredibly hard for the team, and as talented as Suso is, if he doesnt take that onboard he will not succeed.

  58. Liverpool had a spanish influence in the academy i look on English players like most English sportsmen u just dont generally work hard enough.
    The olympics were a great one for you but only because overseas coaches knew how to make you work.
    I believe looking at the current English team it does lack creativity also lacks mental toughness and i am pretty sure many like Carroll for example just have no idea how to get the best out of themselves.