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Rafa sets Euro stepping stone

08 Sep 2009 11:58:51

Rafa sets Euro stepping stone

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez believes European competition will play a key role in the development of his young stars. UEFA Champions League regulations now stipulate that clubs must include eight 'home-grown' players within their squads for continental competition. That ruling states that four players must have come through the club's own Academy and four more through an Academy in their respective country. In order to meet the regulations, Liverpool have this season included two 18-year-old rookies in their 28-man squad - strikers Nathan Eccleston and David Amoo. They are joined in the fold by three other recent graduates from the Reds' youth structure, Jay Spearing, Stephen Derby and Martin Kelly. Benitez has been forced to cull senior professionals Philippe Degen and Nabil El Zahr from his selection in order to meet the Uefa quota, but the Spaniard insists competing at the highest level will prove beneficial to his promising youngsters in the long run. Chances "We had to leave two players out of the list which was a difficult decision," he said. "For the young players to be involved is a very good experience for them. It is important for them to be on the list and if they are in the squad, or play, it would be fantastic for them. "Always when you go away with the senior players you can learn something so I think that will be really important for them. "We have to prepare the team for these six games and then hopefully we will have more games when the group finishes. "The young players know if they work hard and improve then they will get their chances."


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