Babel out to impress
Dutchman ready to play major role
By Gerrit van Leeuwen. Last Updated: 29/04/09 10:41am
Liverpool winger Ryan Babel hopes to show next season that he is ready to fulfil his potential.
The Dutchman was regarded as an exciting prospect for the future when he arrived at Anfield from Ajax in 2007.
He has shown glimpses of his ability but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot and realises it is now time to deliver.
The 22-year-old accepts that he can no longer hide behind his youth and he is determined to establish himself as a key player with the Reds.
"You are a talent until you are 23," Babel told the Dutch Football Association's official website.
"At that moment you can't say 'Sorry I am just a young player'. At that moment you have gained enough experience to play a major role.
"Coaches say 'You are still young, you have time'. But they won't say that about Lionel Messi. He is young and he is good, so he will play."
Babel's future has been the subject of speculation but he maintains that he is happy at the club.
"I am very proud to be a part of this team," he explained.
"Before I made the transfer to Liverpool, of course I knew the club and the Beatles but apart from that not a lot about the city.
"It has completely changed. If you are there, you appreciate Liverpool. Then you can see how big this club is."
Babel accepts that he found it difficult to adjust to the training methods used at Liverpool when he first joined the club.
He said: "At Ajax there was time to do some individual exercises at the end of the training. I really enjoyed that.
"Nowadays it isn't possible, unfortunately. At Liverpool we had to leave the pitch to move on inside.
"The next game could not be far away. They won't take any risks that you will get injured.
"In the first season I had problems with that as I didn't play a lot. I am now used to it. To take some moments of rest are important."