'We're not here to make up the numbers'

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Liverpool U21s boss Michael Beale insists he sends his young Academy talents across to Melwood safe in the knowledge that they are not merely there to fill in gaps left by first-team stars.


Regular international breaks throughout the season afford the club's prospects an opportunity to swap Kirkby for West Derby, in order to train under the watchful eye of Brendan Rodgers and his coaching staff.

This week will be no different as players from the youth ranks journey across the city to pit their wits against some of the senior players who have not travelled with their national sides for fixtures around the world.

The Academy boys are not there just for a change of scenery, however. According to Beale, they are scrutinised and advised in the same way as the rest - and such an important ethos is all down to Rodgers' approach.

"Some clubs have players train with their first teams, but to make up the numbers," said Beale. "But since I've been at Liverpool, it has never been to make up the numbers. When the lads go to Melwood, the manager speaks to them.

"He pulls them aside, so if we send one or two up he always talks to them. They come back and you ask how it was and they say, 'yeah, it was good and Brendan said to me...' and that is unbelievable for them.

"His assistant, Colin Pascoe, is very open and his coaches Mike Marsh and John Achterberg worked here at Kirkby so they have a real good approach with the kids.

"In the international breaks we get to go up with a larger number and I can go as well and it's good for me to see what they're doing. I believe we are in a better position than others and that is down to Brendan and the type of man he is."


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