Liverpool's Jordan Rossiter backed to succeed at Anfield
Last Updated: 26/08/15 6:27pm
Former Liverpool youth team coach Hugh McAuley is confident Brendan Rodgers will manage the development of Jordan Rossiter carefully and believes the midfielder can go on to establish himself as a first-team regular at Anfield.
The 18-year-old made his Premier League debut as a second-half substitute in Liverpool's goalless draw with Arsenal on Monday night, replacing Lucas Leiva after 76 minutes at the Emirates Stadium.
It was Rossiter's second senior appearance of his Liverpool career having appeared in the Capital One Cup third-round penalty shoot-out victory over Middlesbrough last season, scoring the opening goal of the match from 30 yards within 10 minutes at Anfield.
His rapid rise through the academy and into the first team has also drawn comparisons to club legend Steven Gerrard from former forward Robbie Fowler.
McAuley, who helped to bring through the likes of Gerrard, Fowler, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen at Liverpool, says he is pleased to have seen Rossiter handed a further chance to impress and feels the Merseyside-born player will be given all the necessary tools to ensure he remains firmly part of the first team.
"We always knew about Jordan's enthusiasm and ability and that has eventually got him to where he is now. He has a real hunger and passion to play the game as well as to do the right things on the football pitch and to work hard," McAuley said.
"It's so pleasing to see a local lad come through with all that spirit and ability and for Brendan to give him that opportunity. Brendan is an experienced man and he'll play Jordan if he thinks it is right. He'll also pick what games Jordan is involved in and hopefully give him that steady progress which will hopefully benefit him in the future.
"It's great for Brendan, the academy director Alex Inglethorpe and all the other staff as they've all had an input into his development. Jordan is now regularly at Melwood with all the first team, so Brendan and his staff will be working with him and helping him every day.
"There are people in his corner wanting him to do very, very well. They will be patient with him and give him the games to show what he's all about. But he'll have to prove to them he is learning the game and, if he does so, I am sure a connection with the supporters will soon follow."
Rossiter joined Liverpool in 2003 at the age of six and has represented the club at U16, U18, U19 and U21 level. He became a regular fixture in the U21 team during the 2013/14 season and was voted Liverpool's Academy Player of the Year at the end of that campaign.
Of the current Liverpool first-team squad, only Rossiter, defender Jon Flanagan and young midfielder Jack Dunn were born and raised in the city, following the departures of Gerrard and Rickie Lambert during the summer.
"Liverpool supporters love local lads playing in the team because that's an identity. They are the icon, they are the local lad who has made good and for all the upcoming young players that go to Anfield to watch Liverpool play, there's a player in the team just like them," McAuley added.
"The supporters will latch onto him very quickly and give him the time to be successful. Having said that, everyone goes to Anfield to see Liverpool win, that's the way it is.
"Jordan will get opportunities and he will have to deliver because the demands are so great for the first team to do well. He has already shown he can handle that situation and let's hope he can go on throughout the season and get several opportunities when the manager thinks he's ready to stay for longer periods in the first team and show his worth.
"You don't get any free passes when you play for Liverpool. You are always in the team on merit and for Jordan to get in now is fantastic. Brendan knows he's got ability and can pass the ball. His football intelligence on the pitch is superb and he does the simple things perfectly all the time.
"The best Liverpool players or scouse players, who have come through the youth system, have always shown that individual confidence to go and express themselves. Jordan is not fazed by being in that company of international and world class players because he's got that confidence in his own ability to stand his ground and deliver on the pitch at Anfield or wherever he's got to play."
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