Liverpool academy boss Owen delighted with trio's progress

Liverpool academy chief John Owen is delighted to see young trio Dani Pacheco, Jay Spearing and Stephen Darby making a first team impact in preseason.

"I think they've all done very well," he told LFC TV. "Jay's a leader and a very communicative player. He's been a captain and does his own job while influencing those around him.

"For me he often had to play at centre back. He isn't so tall but he reads the game so well and is just another example of his versatility. Central midfield is really his role but it just showed his fantastic attitude to do a job for the team, knowing that his future was in midfield.

"With Jay it isn't about him, it's about the team and that's great. His influence on others is a special trait because not all players can do that.

ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000;document.write('');
"You look back at Roy Keane who was famous for doing it and then there's Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard now - so Jay is of a similar ilk to that.

"As for Stephen Darby, he is a defender who needs to build up on the physical side of things.

"His ability to read the game and his mindset as a defender to close down and give the opposition no chance is a great attribute. The player who he can look to as an example is Jamie Carragher because he has a fantastic attitude to not let any player get the better of him and that's what you can see with Stephen."

Owens was also full of praise for Spanish starlet Dani Pacheco who he believes will overcome any fears that he could be too slight for the hustle and bustle of the English game.

"Well Dani's ability on the ball and his ability to see space and link with players was there to see straight away," he said. "His only real involvement with us at the Academy was in the Youth Cup last season and you could see that the potential was there.

"Obviously working at Melwood with the reserves and the first-team has helped his progress and he's the same as Jay Spearing, in that you can rely on them to keep the ball and that's something we expect from players wanting to play for Liverpool.

"I'm not surprised he's doing well. He's got great vision and a nice touch on the ball. He's a small player and some may say he might struggle with that. But if you are clever enough there are plenty of examples out there. He's the type of player who managed to use his skills and ability to ensure he was not dominated by a more physically imposing player.

"I think Dani has shown that and I'm pleased he's done so well on this recent tour with the first-team."

Have your say