Kenny Dalglish believes Liverpool have a bright future after John Flanagan's impressive debut.
Liverpool youngsters give the club a new sense of hope
Kenny Dalglish believes Liverpool have a bright future after academy graduate John Flanagan produced an impressive debut on Monday night.
Flanagan, 18, was handed a slot at right-back against Manchester City in a thrilling 3-0 win for the Reds.
Martin Kelly has also emerged from the ranks this season, while Jay Spearing is beginning to forge a career for himself in midfield in Steven Gerrard's absence.
A raft of injuries to defenders had prompted Dalglish to include the youngster but he was unsurprised by his telling contribution.
"I wasn't surprised it didn't faze him," said Dalglish.
"The development of him over the last year has been fantastic and that is the reward for him.
"Circumstances may have dictated that we pushed him in earlier than we would normally have done but he stood up to it and the good thing for him was he had Jamie Carragher beside him and Dirk Kuyt in front of him.
"The young boy is not bad. For us that is really encouraging as well because it is a reflection of the work that is being done at the academy and if we have a strong academy it can only benefit us for years to come."
For Flanagan, his inclusion had also come as a surprise to him too.
"It was a dream come true. I was told at quarter to six in the team meeting, it came straight out of the blue," he said.
"But Carra (Carragher) was telling me what to do and keeping my attention focused."
It was not only Flanagan's display that drew praise, but also that of his fellow Liverpool-born team-mate Spearing.
Lucas Leiva formed a solid partnership with Spearing in midfield but he too praised the performance of the debutant right-back.
"It was a fantastic achievement not just for him but for the club who are looking to bring young players through," said Lucas.
"Jay is also a very good lad and I think he is doing really well at the moment. He's another player coming from the academy and that is what fans want to see.
"Last night was just one more night when everyone could see Liverpool are going in the right direction and I am happy with the way everything is happening."