Premier League

Gerrard challenges young guns

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Fri, 05 Jul 2013 12:36:00

Steven Gerrard has challenged Liverpool's rising stars to shake off their promising youngsters tag and compete for a regular first-team place.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers gave opportunities to seven academy graduates last season and Gerrard believes it is time for them to take more responsibility.

The England and Liverpool captain said: "You only get described as a young lad for a certain amount of time and then it's time to become a man and perform on a consistent basis.

"There is great talent at the club at a young age; the manager has been trying to get a young group of players together that can perform well for him.

"It's a big season for a lot of players - you look at (Raheem) Sterling and (Jordan) Henderson.

"Of course it's a big season for every player we've got, but I think the supporters will be looking for the young lads to step up now, try to push people out of the way and become regulars in the team.

"I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what happens with those young players."

Gerrard hailed Rodgers for the way he integrated members of the club's academy into the first-team set-up.

"The manager is fantastic with the way he does it; he invites a lot of young players down to train with the team all the time," he said.

"It's great experience to come down and play with the first team.

"When they come down permanently, they have sampled it and they know what they're in for.

"I'm excited because if the young lads show the manager that they are good enough, he's certainly shown to everyone that he's not scared of playing them. It's going to be exciting."

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