With Steven Gerrard set to manage the Liverpool U19s in this season’s UEFA Youth League, the 37-year-old can oversee an invaluable experience.
Gerrard, as manager of the U18s, will lead the young Reds out in Europe, after the first team sealed their place in the Champions League last month.
Their fixtures will mirror those of Jurgen Klopp‘s side, taking on Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor in the group stage, providing a tough test of their credentials.
And Neil Critchley, who left his role as U18s manager to take over from Michael Beale in the U23s setup this summer, believes it is a “fantastic opportunity” for Gerrard’s young charges.
“I was fortunate enough to take the team with Alex [Inglethorpe] and Mick Garrity three years ago now,” he explained.
“It was a great experience for coaches, staff and more importantly for the players.
“I remember Trent [Alexander-Arnold] coming on in Real Madrid away when he was an U16. Ovie [Ejaria] was in and around that team. It’s great for their development.
“We’re delighted that the first team did us a favour and we’re both in, and hopefully we can both have successful Champions League campaigns when it kicks off next Wednesday. Exciting times, can’t wait.
“On the away games we travel with the first team, play in the afternoon and then go and watch them in the evening which is brilliant.
“We went to Real Madrid to watch that game, I’d never been to the Bernabeu, it was unbelievable.”
The experience of traveling and interacting with the first team is clearly crucial, with the club overseeing a merge of the senior and academy training facilities in the future.
As Critchley attests, this should be “great for their development,” as they push for a place in the first team in the future.
Liverpool U19s Fixtures, UEFA Youth League
- Sevilla (H) – Prenton Park – September 13, 5pm
- Spartak Moscow (A) – Moscow Football Academy – September 26, 2pm
- Maribor (A) – PTUJ Stadium – October 17, 1pm
- Maribor (H) – Prenton Park – November 1, 12.30pm
- Sevilla (A) – Sevilla Academy Stadium – November 21, 5pm
- Spartak Moscow (H) – Prenton Park – December 6, 12.30pm