I met him after the U21’s game against Manchester United at Langtree Park on Monday night and was very impressed with him.
When speaking about the game it was obvious to see he was gutted with the defeat, and the manner it came, but he gave off this sense of pride in his players. He spoke glowingly about all of lads in red, noting how pleased he was with the attitudes of the first team lads, and was particularly pleased with the display following the sending-off, highlighting the 70-85 minute mark where we were on top and an Adam Morgan first-time strike away from leading.
He talked glowingly about Daniel Ward and the saves he made, stressed the importance of Conor Coady adapting to new roles and learning from his experiences there; praised Jonjo Shelvey for putting in a ‘senior pro’ performance particularly when having to play at full-back, and the delight he had at working with someone like Joao Teixeira.
He stated his full belief in the talent Teixeira has and how hard the club is working with him as there are high hopes for our Portuguese starlet.
Aside from the obvious footballing knowledge that Alex displayed, was a genuine care for those he coaches. He was asked about Marc Pelosi and the pain in his response at losing such a talented player was on par with his pain in such a horrible thing happen to such a lovely lad. Whilst talking about Pelosi, he mentioned both Brad Smith and Samed Yesil and the long term injuries they have suffered in recent weeks bemoaning their luck.
I asked about the effect the red card had on Stephen Sama (being an ex centre-back myself) and Alex spoke at length about the character of Sama and the humility he had displayed following the final whistle. He praised the interview Sama gave to LFCtv at a trying time for him and talked about the lessons to be learned.
The conclusion that I drew from my limited time with Alex (could have spent a lot longer in his company chatting on the game as a whole) was that LFC have a man in place that appreciates the importance of, on and off, the pitch aspects of the game. At this level, and crazy as it sounds, winning the match isn’t key, preferable but not key.
At this level it is about readying the young players for the first team. They will make mistakes, they will make costly mistakes, but these are all part of the learning curve and it is their reaction to said mistakes that is crucial.
Personally I think LFC have the right man in charge of the U21’s and that in the coming years we will realise the potential of these young stars as a result.
Come find me on twitter @timdibs
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