Steven Gerrard has outlined the area Rhian Brewster needs to continue to work on if he is to reach his potential as part of Liverpool’s first team.
Brewster has returned to the fold for the Reds’ academy sides following his triumphant spell at the U17 World Cup with England, where he earned the Golden Boot.
The 17-year-old has since slotting back in for the Liverpool U23s, as well as turning out for Gerrard’s U19s in their 4-0 UEFA Youth League victory over Sevilla on Tuesday afternoon.
He found the back of the net once again in Spain, volleying home Adam Lewis’ excellent cross at the far post, but Gerrard was more impressed with Brewster’s industry.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo after the game, the Reds legend pitched Brewster’s pathway to the top.
“Everyone has seen it all over the world that Rhian is capable of scoring goals,” he said.
“You have to enjoy the plaudits but not get too high and not start believing in all the hype. You have to keep showing everyone what you are about.
“In football people forget pretty quickly, both the good and the bad. You are only as good as your last game, and against Sevilla he was magnificent.
“For me, the key for Rhian Brewster today was his work rate. We all know he has got the talent and the ability.
“If Rhian wants to go far and stay at the top, if he can put in that work rate and relentless running, that’s how he’s going to get the better of most defenders.
“His body is built for running and that’s one of his strengths. He can’t forget that.”
Gerrard utilised a 3-5-2 formation in Andalusia, continuing his impressive tactical work with the system at both U18s and U19s level.
This consisted of a back three of Conor Masterson, Rhys Williams and the ever-present George Johnston, with Lewis and Rafa Camacho operating as left and right wing-backs respectively.
Ben Woodburn served as the more creative of the two midfielders, while goalscorer Herbie Kane was deployed as the knitting option, linking up with Curtis Jones behind Brewster and Liam Millar.
It is a formation that is working well for Gerrard, and despite the likes of Camacho taking up unfamiliar roles, he believes it is integral to their development.
“Their manager said to me after the game: ‘You’ve got a superb team.’ That’s credit to the players. He didn’t say to me: ‘You’ve got some good individuals’,” he concluded.
“That’s what pleased me most. That was a top, top team performance, especially away in Europe.”
Gerrard’s U19s are through to the knockout stage of the UEFA Youth League, topping their group with a game in hand, with his first season proving hugely successful.
While he is blessed with a raft of top young talents, Gerrard’s managerial nous is shining through, both in his tactical work and his individual focus, with Brewster the key example.