Liverpool’s vice-captain has praised our youngsters, who’ve done so impressively during various cup runs this term, but has promised he won’t let them rest on their laurels.
The likes of Kevin Stewart, Brad Smith, Cameron Brannagan, Pedro Chirivella among others have played above themselves in the League Cup and FA Cup, as well at the very start of the campaign under Brendan Rodgers in the Europa League.
Against West Ham on Tuesday, Stewart did especially well, while young Portuguese duo Tiago Ilori and Joao Teixeira also impressed.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year and you want those boys to come in and not just fill that spot for the time being but to push whoever’s holding that shirt and be part of the squad, improve and become better players as well,” Milner said, reported in the Echo.
“We can help with that and ultimately they’re the future of this club so the more games they get, the more experience and the more they can learn, it’s obviously better for everyone.
“They’ve got their heads on their shoulders, their feet on the ground, and they know what they want to achieve.
“If they don’t, that’s where we step in and give them a kick up the rear but I don’t see that being too much of a problem.”
I’m sure there’s many fans who’ll feel Milner himself needs a kick up the rear following some stale recent performances, but it’s good to know the 30-year-old isn’t shirking from his responsibilities.
Now we’re out of the FA Cup though, there won’t be any chances for the youngsters unless we’re resting players in the Premier League or another injury crisis strikes. We’re likely to go strong in the Europa League as it’s our best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
However, the likes of Stewart and perhaps Brad Smith are very much knocking on the first-team door already.