Liverpool v Man Utd: Biggest FA Youth Cup tie in years

Next Sunday's FA Youth Cup quarterfinal tie between Liverpool and Manchester United is looming as the biggest the tournament has seen in years.

Next Sunday's FA Youth Cup quarterfinal tie between Liverpool and Manchester United is looming as the biggest the tournament has seen in years.

Buoyed by their 9-0 trouncing of Southend United, Liverpool academy coach Rodolfo Borrell admits his team are now becoming a big draw for Reds fans starved for success.

The emergence of Raheem Sterling, Conor Coady and Andre Wisdom is the talk of Merseyside and their progress has seen U18 attendances swell in the lead up to Sunday's huge tie.

Indeed, such is the anticipation, that Liverpool have shifted the game to a midday kickoff - just as they would with the senior team - to accommodate the expected bumper crowd.

While both teams boast some of Europe's most exciting young talent, England fans will get a glimpse of their national team's future on Sunday. No less than five of England's triumphant U17 European Championship winning squad from last year will be on the pitchy.

However, it's two English players not involved in the Liechtenstein success who for many are regarded as the biggest hopes at their respective clubs.

Ravel Morrison, the United midfielder, is seen as the best young talent to come through the youth system since the David Beckham generation almost 20 years ago. A tricky, direct, attacking midfielder, Morrison boasts an eye for goal and has been United's most consistent performer during this season's Cup run.

But there are concerns over his future as he managed to avoid a 12-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to intimidating a robbery witness earlier this year.

Morrison lives with his grandparents, Chris and Maureen Carlway, in Denton, five miles to the east of Manchester, while his mother, Sharon Ryan, still takes an active part in his life but lives in another part of the city with her two younger boys, Rio and Zeon.

Morrison has contemplated moving out, complaining that he does not like being under the watch of his grandmother, but the club would rather he stayed in the company of adults, and it is said that Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville have both offered to take him in at different points.

In the opposite camp is Raheem Sterling, who scored five goals in that 9-0 result against Southend.

He was still playing in the park with his brother last year - using jumpers as goal posts - when QPR sold him to Liverpool for £600,000. Having only turned 16 in December, he could be the youngest player on the pitch - but also may be the most influential.
Kenny Dalglish has already included Sterling in his Europa League squad and a first team debut cannot be ruled out before the end of the season.

There's great mutual respect between the two clubs' academies and while Liverpool will start the tie as favourites, their youth boss Frank McParland admits United are among the standard bearers for English club development.

"The rivalry between the two clubs is very intense but if you asked me to pick a side to go up against at youth level, I would always plump for Man United," he told liverpoolfc.tv.

"It's simply because of the way they work with their youngsters. They aim to play good football and their philosophy is similar to ours. They have a true winning mentality and that is what we want to instil throughout our own system."

Whatever the result, with so much local talent on display, the big winners is sure to be English football. But that's not say the imports will be relegated to supporting roles ...

FOUR FOREIGN TALENTS TO MAKE DIFFERENCE AT ANFIELD


Toni Silva (Liverpool)
Liverpool pipped Chelsea to land Silva last year. A Portugal youth international, Silva boasts the skill and trickery in the traditions of Portuguese greats like Cristiano Ronaldo.

Suso (Liverpool)
Snapped up from Cadiz by Liverpool's Spanish youth guru Rodolfo Borrell, Suso is already rated highly inside English football. Another exciting ball player, Suso chose Liverpool ahead of offers from Real Madrid and Barcelona last year.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Free-scoring French midfielder likened to World Cup winner Patrick Vieira. He has already been tipped by French experts as a future Les Blues captain.

Gyliano Van Velzen (Manchester United)
Likened to former United star Cristiano Ronaldo. Van Velzen only moved to United this season from Ajax and can play out wide and also through the middle.

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