Ex-Liverpool manager explains importance of developing talent under Arne Slot

On Roy Evans’ watch, Liverpool produced some of the club’s greatest-ever players, and they were homegrown too.

After nearly 30 years of association with the club, Evans became permanent manager in 1994 and spent almost five years in the job, winning the League Cup to see out Liverpool’s legendary boot room era.

While he won just one trophy as manager, he is still remembered fondly for his team’s flowing, attacking football.

Perhaps his greatest feat, though, was the brilliant development of young players from the academy on his watch.

Having come through the youth setup himself, Evans oversaw the beginnings and development of youngsters such as Steve McManaman, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen.

Robbie Fowler’s continued integration and rise under Evans defined the era and, speaking at Fowler’s mural unveiling in March, Evans explained how to bring youngsters into the first team.

“You do different things for different people,” the former boss told This Is Anfield.

“Obviously, some people have different ideas so you have to work off the mentality of the players in what you can do for them, and of course, the team is the most important.”

Arne Slot has the luck of inheriting a great group of young players from Jurgen Klopp, many of whom already have a League Cup winner’s medal.

Evans is impressed by the current crop of talent coming through. He added: “I don’t go to watch the training sessions too often these days. In some way you’d like to see that (next generation) start to be there.

Liverpool's Robbie Fowler (L) and manager Roy Evans during a training session at Melwood Training Ground.

“But it’s always nice to have a balance of young players mixing with players who know what they’re doing and help them out, so you play them together.

“It’s always nice to have two or three young lads and seven or eight older lads, who know what they’re [doing], keeping the team together.”

The current squad are of an ideal age profile to do that.

With the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Mo Salah still around to act as role models on the pitch, we have already seen how they drive others on.

Jarell Quansah has undoubtedly benefited from having Van Dijk to learn from, while we have even seen Caoimhin Kelleher develop a goalkeeping style similar to Alisson.

A successful academy keeps the club healthy, both financially and on the pitch. It is something Liverpool and Slot must continue to take advantage of.