Jurgen Klopp spoke about injuries, Simon Mignolet and Liverpool’s goalscoring problems during his press-conference today, but for us – the most interesting comments were about Jerome Sinclair and young footballers at big football clubs.
The manager, who had a wonderful record of developing teenagers such as Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Mario Gotze at Borussia Dortmund, was answering a question about Sinclair’s future – with Sky Sports claiming he’s on the verge of joining Watford.
Klopp indicated that breeding successful youngsters is a two way process. First, the club need to create a learning environment where footballers can actively improve, but secondly – that young players don’t chase money – or base success around the size of their contract.
“As a club you can’t make younger players happy, it’s not possible,” Klopp began – cited by the Echo.
“What we try to create is a situation where younger players know that it’s not important to get the highest wages in your life in the first years of your career. It’s more important to get a good education and that’s what we try to do.
“I like Jerome. He is a real talent and if he wants to stay with us absolutely no problem. But we cannot force it.
“You need young players who want to learn and if we can create the situation where it’s the right place to learn that’s good.
“First of all we need to offer education and training and the opportunity to work with the best coaches and players that we have.
“Jerome Sinclair is a very young player and he has skills, no doubt. He is very good shooter, but physically it’s not easy for him to survive in a central position in a Premier League game against six feet four inch defenders.”
So there you have it.
If you’re young and talented, it’ll mean nothing at Anfield unless your attitude and willingness to improve matches your ability.
For Klopp, teenagers should fight for potentially enormous contracts in their late twenties by striving to be the best they can be in the future – instead of recruiting agents to get big deals now.
The Mirror reported back in December that Sinclair had hired Raheem Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward to represent him, so really it shouldn’t be surprising that the 19-year-old has decided to chase the money as well.