Kenny encouraged by Reds youth

BY foxsports • April 12, 2011

Dalglish's hand was forced somewhat by injuries to defenders but Flanagan, 18, repaid his manager's faith with a fine performance. With Jay Spearing starting to develop in central midfield and Martin Kelly making his breakthrough, Dalglish believes more players could make the transition. "I wasn't surprised it didn't faze him," said the Scot of Flanagan's display. "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 in years to come." Liverpool-born Flanagan admitted he was surprised to get his call-up in such a big game. "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." Midfielder Lucas Leiva also believes the emergence of players like Flanagan points to an optimistic future. "It was a fantastic achievement not just for him but for the club who are looking to bring young players through," said the Brazil international. "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. "On Monday 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."

share story