Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Wednesday October 2 2013
A trio of former Reds have been hired by current boss Brendan Rodgers to help nurture and inspire the stars of tomorrow...
Kop boss Brendan Rodgers has realised his plan to get some of the club's ex-players involved with the development of the latest generation of would-be stars.
The 40-year-old has recruited one-time Anfield team mates, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Rob Jones, to impart their knowledge and experience as part-time coaches at the Academy.
All three will work alongside U21 coach Alex Inglethorpe and his new U18 counterpart Neil Critchley to coach and mentor youngsters who play in their particular position of expertise.
Fowler will therefore naturally work with the strikers, McManaman will concentrate on midfielders, while Jones is tasked with imparting his wisdom on the art of defending.
Discussing the move to bring in the 90s icons, all capped at international level by England during their respective careers, Rodgers told the Liverpool ECHO: "It's great to have Robbie, Steve and Rob on board.
"I said at the end of last season that I wanted to get more former players involved and over the off-season I spoke to a number of them about a possible role here.
"For me it's so important to have players like that around. These are players who the young guys look up to.
"The three of them have come in recently and I know they have thoroughly enjoyed having that involvement of working with the kids."
The trio all played in the Liverpool side that lifted the 1995 League Cup in a 2-1 triumph over Bolton Wanderers; Mcmanaman scoring both of the Merseysiders goals at Wembley.
After debuting in 1989, 'Macca' featured on over 350 occasions for the Reds before enjoying a highly successful spell in Spain at the turn of the Millennium, twice lifting the Champions League with Real Madrid.
Jones was generally regarded as one of the finest right-backs of his era and a precursor for the attack-minded full-backs of today. Sadly injuries plagued his career but the lifelong Liverpool fan did manage 243 appearances and, alongside Mcmanaman, also lifted the FA Cup in 1992.
Fowler, the popular Toxeth-born forward, is the youngest of the group at 38 (the other two are 41) and made his original debut in 1993 before returning to the club for a second spell in 2006. He sits fifth in the all-time list of leading Liverpool scorers with 183 goals and was part of the team that won an historic treble of League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup under Gerard Houllier in 2001.
The group are all synonymous with the club and know exactly what it takes, and means, to wear the famous Liver Bird - something that Rodgers is seemingly keen to tap into.
"It's important to retain that connection with the history of the club. I want to protect that great history to ensure these players get the opportunity to be involved at a club they love," added the Northern Irishman.
"We lost a true great in Jamie Carragher this summer and you need people around who love the club dearly.
"If you look throughout the club now, we have lots of staff from this area. We have Mike Marsh on the staff with the first team - a local boy who came through and played for the first team.
"Frank McParland, our Academy director, knows the area inside out and guys like that are very important to me in understanding the culture of Liverpool.
"Getting the likes of Robbie, Steve and Rob involved is all part of that. They offer wisdom, they have played at the top level and they also understand what playing for Liverpool Football Club is all about."
An interesting move and one that surely cannot do any harm? All three were top players and retain an intense affection for the club that will hopefully rub off on many of the youngsters attempting to follow in their footsteps. I've always been someone who sees a lot of merit in bringing in specialist coaches who've practiced what they preach at the highest level and can give all their focus and attention on a certain facet of the game.
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Date:Wednesday October 2 2013
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