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10 Liverpool U18s players who can star for Steven Gerrard’s side next season

With Steven Gerrard set to take over as manager of the Liverpool U18s next season, the Reds legend can look forward to calling upon some big talents.

The 36-year-old is set to take over from Neil Critchley this summer, with the current U18s boss expected to take over the vacant U23s role.

By all accounts, Gerrard has taken to his new role as youth coach at Kirkby with a real vibrancy, with his commitment to the cause clearly endearing him to academy director Alex Inglethorpe.

This will give Gerrard the opportunity to cut his teeth as he targets a senior managerial position in the future, while for the U18s, they will work under the ideal role model.

The likes of Conor Masterson, Herbie Kane, Yan Dhanda and Rhian Brewster are likely to step up to the U23s squad on a full-time basis next term, leaving Gerrard to lead the new breed.

Here are 10 young Reds who Gerrard can look forward to working with.

 

Diego Lattie

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 17, 2016: Liverpool's Diego Lattie in action against Crystal Palace during the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Signed from Man City towards the end of the 2015/16 campaign, Lattie is an impressive, attacking right-back who has been regularly utilised in an advanced role by Critchley.

A speedy youngster adept at driving forward down the right flank, Lattie will be hoping to hone his all-round game as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The 17-year-old has a point to prove at Kirkby, having been deemed to surplus by City, and he can continue to strive for a future at the top with his performances under Gerrard in 2017/18.

 

Neco Williams

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Friday, March 31, 2017: Liverpool's Neco Williams takes a throw-in against West Ham United during an Under-18 FA Premier League Merit Group A match at the Kirkby Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lattie has been forced to contend for his place in the U18s lineup since the turn of the year, with Welsh youngster Williams shifted into a right-back role to improve his defensive qualities.

A natural midfielder, Williams has been hugely impressive since being promoted to Critchley’s squad, with his delivery from out wide producing a number of vital goals in recent months.

The teenager has been praised for his work ethic since changing duties, and this will no doubt earn Gerrard’s faith.

 

Liam Coyle

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Monday, August 15, 2016: Liverpool's Liam Coyle in action against Blackburn Rovers during the Under-18 FA Premier League match at the Kirkby Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Local lad Coyle was promoted to the U18s squad at the beginning of 2015/16, when he was still just 15, and his full-blooded approach has seen him cement himself as a regular feature at Kirkby.

Something of a rarity on the red half of Merseyside, Coyle operates as a typical defensive midfielder, shielding Critchley’s back four and recycling possession efficiently.

Gerrard has already been working with the youngster on his passing range, and he can hope to continue his progress under the former captain’s tutelage.

 

Adam Lewis

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 17, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lewis in action against Crystal Palace during the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Another Liverpool native, Lewis—albeit naively—underlined his passion for the club with a strong tackle in the U18s’ recent 2-2 with Man United, with Gerrard watching on from the sidelines.

Battling back from a broken leg suffered while turning out for the U16s last season, Lewis has adapted to a variety of positional changes, proving himself an invaluable, versatile presence.

He has recently joined Coyle in a midfield role, with his finesse and composure making him an interesting prospect in the middle of the park.

 

Curtis Jones

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 17, 2016: Liverpool's Curtis Jones in action against Crystal Palace during the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Moved up from Des Maher’s U16s squad towards the end of 2016, there has been no looking back for talented midfielder Jones, giving the young Reds a different dynamic in his roving role.

A technically gifted box-to-box midfielder, Jones has already showcased his goalscoring prowess as a No. 8, though it would be unfair to draw comparisons with Gerrard just yet.

He has already trained with Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team squad, learning from Daniel Sturridge in December, and he can hope for many more visits to Melwood in the future.

 

 

Okera Simmonds

HALEWOOD, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 14, 2017: Liverpool's Okera Simmonds in action against Everton during an Under-18 FA Premier League match at Finch Farm. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gerrard will also be able to call upon a host of impressive attackers, with 17-year-old forward Simmonds one of those likely to take up a key role under the new U18s manager.

Simmonds has faced considerable adversity in recent seasons, but has now settled into Critchley’s side and is making his mark in the final third, looking to add an end product to his game.

A gifted, versatile forward who is able to dance through defences at will, if Simmonds continues to improve his finishing he will be a fine talent.

 

Bobby Adekanye

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 17, 2016: Liverpool's Bobby Adekanye in action against Crystal Palace during the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Things haven’t got going for Adekanye since his move from Barcelona in 2015, initially hampered by work-permit issues, and then a series of a injuries that have restricted his game time.

The Dutch winger will turn 19 in February, but could still have a chance to play for Gerrard’s U18s next season, and this may be his best opportunity to get his Liverpool career on track.

Pacy, skilful and eager to pick up the ball and drive at full-backs, Adekanye could still prove to be a useful player for the Reds.

 

Luis Longstaff

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Friday, March 31, 2017: Liverpool's Luis Longstaff in action against West Ham United during an Under-18 FA Premier League Merit Group A match at the Kirkby Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Along with Jones and another youngster, Paul Glatzel, Longstaff was name-checked by first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders as part of his “new Talent Group” back in January.

Having signed from Newcastle United as a 13-year-old, things have moved quickly for Longstaff—and it is no surprise why, with the midfielder compared to Mesut Ozil by a Brazil youth coach last year.

A cultured, silky midfielder, Longstaff scored a late equaliser in the U18s’ 2-2 draw with United last month, and trained with Klopp’s first team earlier in April.

 

Liam Millar

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Monday, August 15, 2016: Liverpool's Liam Millar celebrates scoring the first goal against Blackburn Rovers during the Under-18 FA Premier League match at the Kirkby Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Brewster making the step up to the U23s squad, Gerrard will be in need of regular goalscorers next term, and Canada youth international Millar could be one of his go-to guys in attack.

Millar announced himself in style on his U18s debut, scoring a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers on the opening day of the season, showcasing his finishing ability.

While not the quickest or most physically adept forward, Millar simply has a knack for finding the back of the net, and his raw qualities can be nurtured during Gerrard’s reign.

 

Glen McAuley

ALTRINGHAM, ENGLAND - Friday, March 10, 2017: Liverpool's Glen McAuley celebrates scoring the first goal against Manchester United during an Under-18 FA Premier League Merit Group A match at Moss Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Perhaps the more likely successor the Brewster at U18 level, young Irishman McAuley has been in fine form for Critchley’s side this season.

Able to play all across the attacking line, the rangy forward is quickly maturing at Kirkby, and becoming a more reliable presence in leading the charge up front.

If he can bulk up and nail down a fixed role, McAuley could quickly follow Brewster and Ben Woodburn through the ranks.

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