Liverpool Football Club’s Managing Director Ian Ayre has reiterated the importance of the club’s youth academy and the investment put into it as a look towards success in the future.
Describing the Academy in Kirkby, to the North-East of Liverpool as “priceless”, Ayre discussed everybody’s passion for raising the stars of the future, from Brendan Rodgers through to the club’s owners.
“It’s a big investment but it’s money well spent,” said Ayre, speaking to the Liverpool Echo.
“Both John Henry and Tom Werner have been to the Academy and they see it as a pipeline to success.
“You can really put a price on it. How do you put a price on the contribution we’ve had over the years from Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher?
“The owners are hugely supportive and see great value in the work that’s done at the Academy.
“When Brendan [Rodgers] came in last year we made significant changes to the way we play football and run the club. One of the things on his CV was that he understood the operation at the Academy, embraces youth and sees the value of bringing players through.”
The 2012/13 season saw a plethora of Academy players break through into the first team.
The likes of Raheem Sterling and Suso held down first team places for large periods of the campaign, whilst Andre Wisdom and Jordan Ibe followed in the footsteps of Martin Kelly, Jack Robinson and Jon Flanaghan in making the transition from Kirkby to Melwood.
Ayre continued, “To have seven debuts in one season says it all and hopefully it’s the start of something special.
“For many years the club invested that money and didn’t see the benefits of it.
“We are blessed with the talent we’ve got coming through now and that’s testament to Frank and his team. The challenge is to keep it going.
“It’s a constant process and you have to keep feeding it from the bottom. Some of the work Frank and his team are doing today with the younger age groups we won’t see the value of for another 10 years.”
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