View from the Kop

With Pacheco and Ayala rumoured to be off, what now for our young stars?


One of the biggest gripes that I and other Liverpool fans have about the club in recent years has been the lack of young talent coming through the youth system. With the rumoured departures of both Daniel Ayala and Dani Pacheco, I think it is about time I reflected once again on what is going on with the Reds academy.

I’ve been over many times the difficulties in England specifically as to why it is difficult to run a top class youth academy with home grown players. The fact that club’s are only allowed to recruit youngsters who live 30 minutes from the club’s training ground and the fact they have to purchase players outside of the catchment area from smaller clubs whose youth facilities are poor in comparison and who are generally bought too late in their development to iron out the technical deficiencies in their game.

The interests of smaller clubs, who rely on youth development to sell their best players for large fees to keep the club running, do however hamper the development to an extent of their youngsters. Barcelona’s La Masia training academy can never be replicated in England in this regard for Barca can recruit across Spain and they start their formal courses at age 12. It hasn’t stopped Liverpool from trying though after recruiting two old La Masia stalwarts in Pep Segura and Rodolfo Borrell, but what they have inevitably found though is a completely different environment to the one they left in Spain. A state of affairs that Borrell described as “unacceptable” when he arrived last summer.

With home grown talent being something of a rarity in some of English football’s top academies though, and the belief that something needed to change to assist the development of young English footballers, the Premier League will introduce a quota system which will mean 8 out of a 25 man squad list must be “home grown” when registered at the end of the summer transfer window. “Home grown” doesn’t necessarily mean English though as players only have to be trained for three years under 21 in England or Wales to qualify. This means that both Dani Pacheco and Emiliano Insua would qualify as home grown.

This makes it even more concerning then that a player such as Dani Pacheco may be allowed to leave this summer, and brings me on to the question as to whether Reds youngsters are being given the chance to shine at Anfield. The biggest problem that certainly needs to be addressed in England is the lack of competitive football for our youngsters. In Spain and Germany all big clubs have B teams which play in the lower leagues of the professional game. Youngsters get tested to a much higher level than ours who play pretty meaningless reserve team football. The only real solution for English teams is to loan our players out.

Hopefully both Ayala and Pacheco’s rumoured moves to Spain are just loans for them to gain experience. If this is the case than I applaud the decision but in Ayala’s case, according to Skysports.com, his proposed loan move to Real Valladolid is in view to a permanent deal. If this is true than I despair, because we are really not giving any of our young players the chance to shine. What is the point of buying a player from abroad at a young age, training him up, and returning him to his home country, only for him to excel? A player like Mikel San Jose came to play here for two years before returning to Spain at Bilbao to be a first team regular, yet he never got a first team appearance for Liverpool. The clamour for the inclusion in first team affairs for Krisztian Nemeth is a case in point, many believe he has the potential to play in the Premier League but he was shipped out to AEK Athens last season and he may also return there this season.

Of course, it maybe true that these players are just not good enough for Liverpool FC, and in recent seasons that has certainly been the case where most, if not all Liverpool Academy players have gone on to play at a lower level, rather than playing in the Premier League. If Kenny Dalglish does take on a new more formal role with the academy though, he must fight his corner for his young players as there will be a few like Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling and perhaps Conor Coady, who could really make it. He must persuade Roy Hodgson to show more faith than has been the case in the past. Hodgson has of course bigger worries in getting the Reds back to where we belong, and it would be a risk for him to shown faith in players which are unproven. The only way to find out in some cases though is to try them and see if they cut it at Premier League level.

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  • Jay says:

    Overseas loans do not benefit our club – playing in foreign leagues not only disassociates the players from our club, with them being eager to remain away from Anfield permanently, but also fails to prepare the players for life at Liverpool long term.

    If they HAVE to be loaned (I’d prefer they wait on the bench for their chances and actually get used when senior players are out of form or injured), our top youngsters should be loaned to either Premiership or Championship clubs. At least that way they continue to build on their home-grown status, which does not happen if we send the players abroad, and they get used to the brand of the football that they’d be facing if they do make the breakthrough with us.

  • J says:

    Europa League and Carling cup is where these players should be given their chance.

  • Marius calitz says:

    Liverpool FC is a franchise. It is a business. Young footballers are an investment. Investments are commodities. Bought and sold, mostly at the owner’s convenience.

  • rassell says:

    why are we lettinbg pacheo leave, he is going to be one hell of a player…

  • PaulS says:

    This is scarey stuff if true….We can see the potential in Pacheco..At least most of us can,+ the 3 year homebased rule…If sold,(prob. for a minimal fee..) how much do we spend to replace him,and where does this money come from?…Big worries all round I`m afraid….Lets hope I`m wrong…YNWA

  • juan manuel gomez says:

    lo que dice jay es sierto, en mi opinion deberian suvir al primer equipo a Krisztian Nemeth, a martin kelly, y quisas a jonjo shelvy

  • Warnock says:

    Jonjo is ready for first team, he played for Charlton. that should be good enuff, why wait till he gets older.put him to the test, we need to test their capabilities in top games to evaluate their whole potential. Off field assesment doesnt give exact results, give em the real thing.

  • Andy says:

    Calm down, its just a rumour. Not so long ago we were reading that Torres to Chelsea was a “Done deal” and that Gerrard was leaving too. All a load of ‘Jabulanis’.

    I know when we are not playing we look for scraps of news regarding transfers but don’t get worked up over rumours.

  • Andy H says:

    Firstly I’m getting sick of all the rummours, it really is silly season.

    If I could also take on the Rafa haters who don’t like the fact that Rafa changed the Academy, I’d like to point out that only one player (I’m pretty certain on this) this decade (since 2000) has come out the academy and played in the Premiership after leaving Liverpool, Steven Warnock. So the thing needed a bloody good shake up.

    Warnock you reckon a lad who played in league one last season is good enough to be in our 1st team? By the way he showed signs of 2nd season syndrome, and according to Charlton fans they were surprised we came in for him after how he’d played last year. The lad needs to start inthe reserves and force his way through, he could be very good in the future but I’d be shocked if he could get into the 1st team now.

    Finally if Hodgson lets Pacheco leave yet gives Riera another chance I’m finished with him, I’ll support the club but my intial fears will no doubt have been proved correct

  • magnumopus says:

    Andy… Warnock plays in the EPL! Not as good as we would like to think but better than many left backs!

  • Fitzy says:

    Magnumopus Andy was replying to the fella warnock who shelvey was ready for the premier league cos he played for charlton. Just like to say don’t think he is… I’d maybe have him back up to the first choice midfielders, but he will be used sparingly this season, maybe carling cup and that u might see him. I think these rumours could be true especially Ayala and pacheco, more likely loan, don’t really see the point with Ayala as he proved last season in 5 games he played he can cut, notthe finished article like but he’s doing well and McMahon reckons he’s head and shoulders too good for the reserves…think he shud just be back up to the other centre halves and again play him in cup games and possibly use him when were playing 2 and 3 games in 10 days which happens round Xmas. Liverpool only need 4 or 5 players and will be fine. If Gerrard and Torres stay then just need couple of forwards to back up Torres, couple of wingers and a left back. Then u have the likes of babel and kuyt, pacheco, riera who can fill in different positions. Might see different attitudes from these players now cos u have a manager who obviously likes to pat a player on the back when he’s played well so give confidence to alot of these players who couldn’t do it last season, u see some of these players who don’t do it but then play well with their national teams.. Anyways we’ll soon enough find out!

  • dazzablack says:

    people seem to think youth isnt given a chance at Liverpool, well how come Liverpool (under Rafa) had the youngest avergae age of the players used throughout the course of the season for 2 seasons running ?? beating the so called youngsters that roll out at the Emirates !

    Woy Hodgson doesnt and has never given youth a chance and replacing Rafa with this man has been a catastrophe.

    i still live in hope, but the only reason hes been given the job is to make Stevie G feel less vulnerable from a cosmopolitan atmoshphere. but if the rules dont change relating to 30mile radius, liverpool and other teams will turn abroad for youth players.

    by the way, it was Rafa that gave Stephen Warnock his debut and he was only in the England squad at the world cup because of Wayne Bridge self imposed ban. if Stephen Warnock isnt better than Wayne Bridge, then why would he play for Liverpool ??! just because hes english !?!

  • Molby says:


    Are alll first team material having watched the reserves last year

    Spearing and Darby are also ok.

  • Molby says:

    Youngesters that also might come good are

    Dalla Valle
    Tom Ince

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