Steven Gerrard heaps praise on Rodgers’ youth policy

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Steven Gerrard has praised Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers for giving opportunities to the club’s young players, after insisting that it is more difficult to progress through the youth ranks in modern football.

Rodgers is in his second season at the Reds helm, during which time he has given first-team action to an array of young talent, including English stars Andre Wisdom, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe.

England captain Gerrard believes the Northern Irishman’s decisions have been “brave”, after backing up the claims of FA chairman Greg Dyke that young English players are not being given enough chances in the game.

In a rare interview, the 33-year-old told the BBC: "Managers are only ever eight to 10 games away from the sack, so to take risks on unknown young players is difficult.

"There's no two ways about it, it's a lot more difficult to break through nowadays because of the standard of players and because there is a lot more foreigners about."

He added: "Brendan Rodgers has been fantastic at this club because he's been brave and he's given young players a chance."

Gerrard came through Liverpool’s youth system himself at the very start of his career, and has since gone on to captain the Reds to Champions League glory and become arguably the greatest player in the club’s history.

However 15 years on since he made his debut he remains the last English player to break through the Liverpool ranks and make a considerable impact on the first-team.

At the beginning of last month newly appointed Football Association Chairman Greg Dyke announced he would be setting up a commission to investigate the shocking reduction in the number of English players in the Premier League.

Dyke stressed that the England national team’s chances of winning major tournaments were being severely hindered by the lack of chances for home-grown talent.

He said at the time: “In the 1992-93 season the figure for English players in the starting line-ups of Premier League clubs was 69%.

“Ten years later that figure was down to 38%, and last season, another 10 years on, the same figure was down to 32%.

"If the best of our emerging young players can't get a game here, then we have a serious problem."

Gerrard’s Liverpool team are currently 2nd in the Premier League table, having had a terrific start to the campaign boosted by the rich goal-scoring form of England striker Daniel Sturridge.

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Steven Gerrard
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