Kenny - Youth in on merit
Kenny Dalglish is adamant he has promoted youth to Liverpool's first-team squad on ability.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 19/04/11 9:58am
Kenny Dalglish is adamant he has promoted youth to Liverpool's first-team squad on ability rather than place of birth.
Although largely due to an injury-hit defence, the Scot has eased local youngsters John Flanagan and Jack Robinson into his side of late.
Right-back Flanagan, 18, has impressed in starts against Manchester City and Arsenal while Warrington-born teenager Robinson appeared from the bench at the Emirates.
Also, 22-year-old Jay Spearing, from Wallasey in Merseyside, has excelled in injured captain Steven Gerrard's absence but Dalglish insists they have been selected on merit.
"No one will ever get a game here because of where they were born," said Dalglish.
"The greatest priority for everyone is ability and we've been delighted by what we have seen at the academy."
Dalglish issued a degree of caution, though, calling for reduced hype surrounding the youngsters, who he is eager to protect.
"Obviously we have to be careful too," he added. "I don't want to put a wet blanket on it but we have to make sure we don't get too carried away.
"But with the boys from the academy coming in, it's a great advert for the club and how it's going about its work in a really good manner - and you get the reward for that."