Liverpool U18s manager Steven Gerrard has finalised his backroom staff for the 2017/18 campaign, as he looks to inspire the new generation.
After joining the academy in a coaching role in February, Gerrard is stepping up to fill the Kirkby dugout in charge of the U18s from next season.
With Neil Critchley taking Michael Beale’s role as U23s manager, the Reds have placed considerable faith in their long-serving former captain in his new duty.
Tasked with moulding the likes of Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Glen McAuley, Gerrard will be eager to give his young charges the perfect grounding to target a first-team role in the future.
And on Wednesday the 37-year-old named his backroom staff for the upcoming season, including one appointment from the first team.
Tom Culshaw will serve as Gerrard’s assistant, moving up from the U15s, Neil Edwards will be goalkeeping coach, Scott Mason will be analyst and Jordan Milsom will be rehab fitness coach.
Milsom previously served as fitness coach for the senior squad, but is joining Gerrard’s staff after Conall Murtagh was promoted to Jurgen Klopp‘s staff.
Gerrard described Milsom as “one of the best in the business,” while he considers former Reds scholar Culshaw “the perfect partner,” with the Reds’ academy setup “in good shape.”
There is likely to be major focus on Gerrard’s progress at the helm of the U18s, but the former midfielder will be eager to dampen expectations.
Explaining what it takes to make it from the U18s to the first team, Gerrard stressed that his youngsters will need to be operating at a “world-class” level.
“There’s a lot of talent, a lot of talent, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: to play for Liverpool’s first team, you’ve got to be world-class,” he said.
“I think it’s changed—I think 10, 15 years ago, you could play for Liverpool’s first team if you were very good.
“You can’t do that anymore because the players that are there are world class, so to move someone out of the way and become a regular, you’ve got to be world class.
“You’ve got to be world class every day; the values of our club will never change, so I am not going to come in and try and change any of the values.
“It’ll be more of the same, but trying to tell them that every single day you’ve got to be obsessed to play for Liverpool’s first team.”
Gerrard and the U18s are set to find out their fixture schedule for the 2017/18 season next month.