Liverpool’s youngsters are pushing the seniors all the way for game time – and Gini Wijnaldum knows there’s a succession plan in place.
They are all right on the fringes of the senior squad at Anfield, and loudly hammering down the down with every appearance they make, but this year of playing the support act has been a critical one for their futures—and for the present quality of the team.
That’s the view of Gini Wijnaldum, one of the senior players in Jurgen Klopp‘s side, the player-elected fourth captain of the squad and the joint-second most-capped player in the squad, highlighting the experience he has to pass on.
And pass it on he does, as the Reds’ No. 5 says the youngsters are keen to soak up every bit of information in preparation for the day they step up into the first-team line-up on a regular basis, a day Gini knows is on the way soon.
“They are really humble, they are really greedy to learn from the older players in the team and that gives you a boost to help them even more because they really want to learn from the players in the first team, and beside that they have a lot of quality,” he told the club site.
“We just be there for them, help them to prepare as good as possible so that when their time is there, they can do the job that we do now.”
The two-way system benefits both tiers of the squad, Wijnaldum notes—it’s not just the youngsters learning their trade, but the seniors making sure they stay on top of their game.
For the younger talents to get a game with this Liverpool team they have to be among the finest players around, regardless of age.
And, in turn, that means the players already in the lineup have to be going at full-throttle all the time to ensure they stay there.
“It’s good to work with them and beside that they also make the squad stronger because when they train they give 100 per cent and they want to show how good they are.
“That makes us as first-team players better.
“So I think it’s both ways: it’s not that we only teach them but also that they make sure that we are on the front foot, because like I said they train at 100 per cent and even more, so also we have to be concentrated because they are good competitors in training.”
That symbiotic relationship has quite clearly been key to the Reds’ absurd consistency in the Premier League, not just this year in winning the title, but last year, too.
The biggest test though, as ever, is the next one ahead – so the youngsters need to keep going and earn their chances, to help the side progress and aid the Reds in retaining the title.