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Liverpool's youth players show promise for the future
Published : 06 Apr 2009 13:26:39Rss feed
The club's youth system has come under fire in recent weeks for not producing a single first-team player since Stephen Warnock, now at Blackburn, despite millions of pounds of investment. Eccleston, an 18-year-old England youth international, though, is just one player whose promise suggests that might be about to change. Related ArticlesChampions League watchFulham 0 Liverpool 1Latest standings and statisticsRafa: We have winning mentalitySamuel Etoo linked with Liverpool moveEngland v Slovakia: How the English players ratedKrisztian Nemeth - Hungarian international striker likely to be the first of Rafa Benitez's imported youngsters to make the breakthrough at first-team level. Picked up from Liverpool's feeder club MTK, Nemeth is a ruthless finisher, although doubts remain over his lack of pace. A broken cheekbone on his debut put an end to a January loan spell at Blackpool, but that Benitez namechecked him as a reason for selling Robbie Keane two weeks later suggests his future his bright. Dani Pacheco - Rafa Benitez plucked the Spanish prodigy from Barcelona two years ago and Liverpool's staff retain high hopes they may have unearthed a gem. His displays for the first team in pre-season hinted at what was to come, full of clever touches and excellent control, and the 18-year-old is expected to be promoted from reserve level next season. Adam Pepper - A 17-year-old attacking midfielder in just his first year at Liverpool's Academy, Pepper is already regarded as the brightest prospect on Merseyside since Wayne Rooney. After a string of excellent performances for the under-18s, Pepper gave a glimpse of his potential when he scored from the half-way line against Blackburn last month. Xabi Alonso would be proud. Lauri Dalla Valle - Another beneficiary of Benitez's global scouting network, Dalla Valle is a Finnish youth international boasting a clinical ruthlessness in front of goal. Hughie McAuley, the under-18s manager, regards him as a "real asset" while his countryman Sami Hyypia regards him as "one of the names for the future." Thomas Ince - Despite his father, former Liverpool captain Paul Ince, making his name as a snarling midfield enforcer, the younger Ince is a quick, exciting left winger who has made a big impression in his first year at the club's Academy. Only 17, his physical presence has improved and, along with Pepper, he is seen as the home grown youngster most likely to make it to the first team in the coming years.