Google+ Blueprint for Football: Academy Challenges

Friday, September 28, 2012

Academy Challenges

There have been a lot of opinions expressed about the Being: Liverpool documentary with one of the most common view being that it largely takes a superficial look at what goes on at a club of that size.

That might be the case - after all the documentary is aimed largely at American audiences who might not be familiar with the club or the game - but that does not mean that there aren't moments that provide insight.

One such instance came in the second episode where Steven Gerrard talks about the challenges faced by the players at the academy.

"The kids at the academy have massive challenges ahead of them because they don't only have to be the best in the academy and the best in the country, they have to be as good as the best players around the world," he said.

"So when you're breaking through and you're close, you've got to be better then whoever is in your position in the first team and that is a massive challenge."

"I've been in their situation and I realise how difficult it is to play for Liverpool FC, the standards you have to set day are tough."

There are those who believe that the step between reserves and first team is an easy one to make.  Clearly, however, it isn't particularly at the highest level.  Players don't simply have to be good but they have to be exceptional to get an opportunity.

Gerrard also touched on another important matter which is the expectations that are place on these young players' shoulders.  They are labelled  stars before they make the step up and are expected to perform as such when they do.

"The difference between when I was at the academy from now is that the fans already know about the kids at the academy, they watch them on the TV whereas when I was coming through no one knew anything about me, it was a surprise.  Which helped as there was no pressure, there's more pressure on the kids now as people are already aware of them before they get close to the first team. It is even more difficult now to get close to the first team."

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