Jurgen Klopp has declared his intention to focus on youth development in his new role at Liverpool, saying “the door is wide open.”
Brendan Rodgers prefaced his Liverpool reign with praise for youth in football, saying “I have an inherent belief in young players,” and his successor, Klopp, is taking the same approach.
“They have to have the talent and the personality,” the Ulsterman continued in 2012. “A young player will run through a barbed wire fence for you.”
Though Rodgers’ spell on Merseyside was ultimately doomed, his dedication to youth development should be commended—and it is this forward-thinking model that Klopp is set to adopt.
“For me the character of a player is the most important consideration, he must have the will to improve himself,” he told Paul Wilson of the Guardian on his unveiling as Reds boss.
“When I am managing a club I think each young player should smile, because the door is wide open for him.
“He has the chance to do anything. I don’t care so much about experience, it can be important but it is not the main thing.
“The best players in the world today are around already, you can see them.
“What I enjoy more is trying to identify the best players of tomorrow, who has the capacity to improve himself most, to take a young player from a small club in Poland and see what he can turn into.”
One such success story in Klopp’s time at Borussia Dortmund was Robert Lewandowski, who joined the Bundesliga side as a 21-year-old in 2010, making the move from a small club in Poland: Lech Poznan.
Klopp moulded Lewandowski into a world-class centre-forward, honing his potential into the dominant goalscorer now on show at Bayern Munich.
If Klopp can do the same at Liverpool, he will be lauded—and the club is already full of high-potential talents.
The 48-year-old attended the Liverpool Under-18s’ 1-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday morning, further underlining his commitment to development within the academy ranks.
It was an approach that worked well for the German at Dortmund, and the hope is that this will translate to the Premier League.