Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez says the club’s youth system has improved dramatically since he took up the Anfield hot seat in 2004, and predicts a bright future ahead.
In an interview with the club’s official web site, Benitez told of how he is thoroughly impressed with the talent that the club’s youth academy, based in Kirkby, is producing.
It was speculated that one of Benitez’s terms in signing a new 4-year deal with the club earlier this year was to have more power of the club’s youth set-up.
He said, “It is much better now. The players can see the difference and I am sure it will be easier for them to progress.
“It is always important to develop your own players. Local players have passion and desire and I think that is the key if you want to be consistent and stay at the top of the table – you have to produce your own players.
“When you make changes it can take time, but we all have the same plan, everybody is following it and we try to do the same things here at Melwood and at the Academy.
“The connection with Melwood is good and the players know if they have to do something, it is because the senior players are doing the same.”
Benitez was also full of praise for the Reserves team and Reserves boss John McMahon, who sit top of the Barclays Reserves Premier League this season.
“The Reserves are a very good team,” he added. “We changed the staff and some players and we knew the first year could be difficult, but they are doing very well.
“They are playing well, are well organised and know what they are doing.
“It means we can bring in some players and you have seen they can perform. The likes of Eccleston, Darby, Ayala and Pacheco – we know we can use these players and they will know what to do.”