Being at a major Premier League club at the age of 16 can be a daunting prospect even for some of the most confident teenagers with aspirations of reaching the top.
Particularly at a club with as much history as Liverpool, nurturing the best academy products into regular first team stars has even greater value.
And their most famous academy graduate from the last two decades has revealed who were the key characters to take him under their wing at Anfield.
Article continues below
Steven Gerrard was 18 when he made the first of his 690 appearances for Liverpool in 1998 and he made it look like he had already been playing at the top level for years.
Of course, having the ability Gerrard possessed plays a big role in the success a player goes on to achieve but how they settle into the environment of the first team can also be crucial.
Article continues below
In a new book entitled 'Liverpool Captains' by Ragnhild Lund Ansnes, Gerrard has discussed the influence both Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Fowler had on the very start of his career.
“Redknapp was my hero. I love him as a guy and I loved him as a player. He went out of his way to help me,” Gerrard said, as per The Mirror.
“I was 16 and an apprentice on £47 a week. And he was a national star who played for England and LFC and was vice-captain under Paul Ince.
“Every day he’d call me over and check on me if I was all right, if I had the football boots and the equipment that I needed. And he’d tell me where he was off to after training and ask me to join him. He didn’t have to do that.
“When someone behaves like that to you at 16, it does something important to you. So when I was 26 and I was captain, I’d treat younger players the way Jamie had."
Anyone who watches A League of Their Own might be surprised at Gerrard's comments on Redknapp, who can sometimes come across as a slightly frosty character but we'll put that down to his on-screen persona.
On Fowler, Gerrard was equally positive about his impact as a captain of the club.
He added: “I think Robbie was made captain because of who he was: an icon in the dressing room, and possibly the best striker in England at that time.
“We had a natural respect for Robbie. He was a bubbly character in the dressing room, very easy to like, and he got along well with every single player.
“He didn’t talk much. But when he did, we listened. He wasn’t a very vocal or aggressive captain, but what he said made good sense. He led by example.”
It's obvious they were both huge influences on Gerrard's own style of captaincy and who knows if the midfielder would have enjoyed the same career he has without their presence.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms