• Premier League

Gerrard: Time for youngsters to step up

ESPN staff
July 29, 2012 « London Olympics 2012 LIVE! | Chartbeat test »
Brendan Rodgers has praised Raheem Sterling © Getty Images
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Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool's youngsters that they can't afford to be patient and must prove themselves worthy of a place in the first-team.

The likes of Raheem Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey and Adam Morgan have impressed while on the club's pre-season tour and will be hoping that new Reds manager Brendan Rodgers gives them a chance in the Premier League.

However, Gerrard believes that the next generation of Liverpool stars should not be waiting for their chance, instead giving Rodgers no other option than to pick them however old they are.

"I see or hear some young lads talking about being patient or waiting for their chance," Gerrard told Liverpool's website. "It sounds like they feel they need a 15-minute cameo in a first-team game to prove what they can do. That's not what it's about. It's about proving yourself every day in training.

"We train from 10am until 1pm or 2pm. In that time you have to show you don't want to wait around. Their attitude should be: it doesn't matter how old I am, I'm good enough.

"They don't want to be getting to September or October and wondering why they didn't get a chance in a game. Do it now is my message to them. They have to go in every day and prove to the manager that they are better than those players who are in the team."

Gerrard broke into the Reds' first-team in 1998, with a teenage Michael Owen already an established senior player and defender Jamie Carragher also making 20 appearances in the 1997-98 campaign.

"Myself and Jamie and Michael didn't wait around on the fringes of the squad hoping we'd be selected some day," he added. "We showed on the training pitch that we would do whatever it took to make the boss put us in.

"We showed the mental strength required. We proved that we were as good as, if not better than, those who had been ahead of us. That's what these lads need to do."

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