Kenny plays down young Reds hype

Right-back Flanagan, 18, made his debut with a start in the victory

over Manchester City 10 days ago and retained his place for

Sunday’s draw against Arsenal. Robinson, who became the club’s

youngest player aged 16 years and 250 days as a substitute against

Hull in the final match of last season but is now 17, came off the

bench at the Emirates Stadium after Fabio Aurelio was injured. Both

have hardly put a foot wrong since their elevation to the first

team and their performances have thrust them – and the club’s

academy – into focus. And while Dalglish is understandably pleased

with the way the pair have played in difficult circumstances – both

earned their chance because of defensive injuries – he is keen to

temper expectation surrounding the youngsters. “They have only been

involved in the last two games but we have been delighted with what

they have done and the fact it has been against Manchester City and

Arsenal speaks volumes for them,” said the Scot. “When you consider

what happened on Sunday: we start without our captain, we lose our

captain, we lose Andy Carroll up front, we lose Fabio and then

we’ve got 17 and 18-year-olds at full-back against English, French

and Russian internationals. “But it didn’t faze them. They got on

with it, accepted their lot and did the club proud. “We just hope

it continues but at the same time we are not going to get carried

away and destroy the boys. “We have to keep our feet on the ground

and so have they because there is no chance you (the media) will

keep your feet on the ground.” Dalglish admits the youngsters would

not have been selected had injuries not badly affected his plans

and that it would be wrong to expect too much from them. However,

he believes their smooth transition into the first team is

testament to the work being done at the club’s academy, whose

under-18 side are currently top of their league. “By choice you

wouldn’t have put them in against Manchester City or Arsenal and

you would put them in when you are doing well – so we’ve got one

bit right because we’re not doing too badly,” he added. “They were

huge games for them and it is to their credit they came in and

competed fantastically well and never looked out of place. “It was

interesting for Flanno because your second game is often the more

difficult one but he did as well on Sunday as he had done the

previous Monday against City. “We have to be conscious of the fact

they are only kids and we have to look for the signs when it is a

proper time to give them a rest. “It is important we pick and

choose if we possibly can when is right and wrong but at this

particular moment we haven’t been afforded that comfort zone –

we’ve just had to throw them in and they have responded

fantastically well. “Now they have another problem in how they

respond to the credit and publicity and inches they are getting in

newspapers – but I don’t think it will faze them. “I guess it is

something to do with the education they get at the academy; they

are taught well and the lads themselves are strong characters.

“They are very level-headed. The boys who come through the academy

come through with the same principles which are relevant to being a

decent football and that is that the team comes first. “It is of

paramount importance they are taught properly, both in footballing

terms and in life. “If they don’t make it as a footballer then

you’d like to think they go away a better person.” It is

particularly heartening, in the multi-national environment of the

Premier League, that Flanagan was born in Liverpool and Robinson

comes from Warrington. “It is a bonus to supporters if they are

local lads because they (fans) will know their auntie, uncle,

cousin or went to school with them,” said Dalglish. “That is what

football clubs should all be about, people being able to relate to

others. “First-team players aren’t allowed to be normal and that is

not their fault, sometimes that is the community’s fault in that

they are not allowed to be normal and cannot do things that you and

I are able to do.”