Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to tribalfootball.com…
BRENDAN Rodgers has thrown a lot of his young players in at the deep end for Liverpool this season and though you could say he deserves credit for that it’s perhaps more out of necessity.
The likes of Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom have all had more game time than the fans and the players themselves might have expected at this stage because of the lack of strength in depth at Liverpool, and they have all performed admirably.
But it is not an ideal situation – while they will be afforded more time to adapt and make mistakes than perhaps Stewart Downing or Jordan Henderson were last season, if they keep playing well like Raheem has done then the fans’ expectations could increase.
Of course you can say ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ as Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville and the rest of Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous crop of youngsters proved at Manchester United in the 1990s.
But I feel Liverpool’s young players might benefit from being bedded in a bit more, playing in the cup games where there will be less pressure on them, and by learning on the training pitch from the more experienced pros.
The performance against Norwich was a big improvement but if Liverpool don’t keep that up you can expect Brendan to be busy in the transfer window come January, providing he is allowed to by the owners.
However, Raheem in particular doesn’t look like he is fazed at all and he seems like he is there to stay in the first-team – he’s done well when he’s been called upon, and it’s up to him to convince the manager he doesn’t need to bring anyone in.
There was talk Raheem might be called up to the England squad again but it was a good decision to put him in the Under-21s because it is far too early in my opinion for him to be involved in the senior setup – and I think Brendan will be relieved.
But there’s no point putting too much pressure on the kid this early on – we know what happened to Theo Walcott when he was a young boy and Sven-Goran Eriksson took him to the 2006 World Cup. It seemed to knock him back a little I think.
Tom Ince is in the U21s squad to face Serbia next week alongside Raheem, and I feel that of the two players he is the one who deserves a senior call up the most.
But either way both of them are exciting players for the future, and Roy will no doubt be keeping an eye on how they get on for Stuart Pearce.
Andy Gray is an official ambassador for Sharethematch.com – Football’s Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store; http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/share-the-match/id450784289?mt=8