• Premier League

Rodgers: We can produce great technical players

ESPN staff
September 8, 2012 « Gerrard insists he's fine as Lampard starts firing | Chartbeat test »
Brendan Rodgers likes technical players like Joe Allen © PA Photos
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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is adamant Britain can produce players as technically proficient as their continental counterparts.

Rodgers has endured a difficult start to his reign at Anfield, with his style of play taking time to take hold at the Merseyside club. The Northern Irishman places a premium on technical ability in his midfielders - describing Joe Allen and Arsenal's Santi Cazorla as "the two best players on the field, the two little guys, the technicians" after last week's defeat to the Gunners - but such comfort in possession is generally a characteristic more commonly ascribed to foreign players.

Nevertheless, Rodgers insists that Britain can produce players just as adept with the ball at their feet as Spain, Brazil, Germany or any other country.

"I've been fortunate enough in my coaching life, I've worked with kids from five years of age right the way through to some of the biggest talents in European football and international captains, and I've worked with British and European players," Rodgers said.

"For me, the European player is no more gifted technically than the British player.

"But where there is a difference is in how they, in their youth and formative years, have been asked to play the game.

"If you're a European player and when you've got the ball your first option is to pass the ball to feet, then of course you're going to look better technically than the British player, when he is asked to get the ball and smash it up the pitch. He doesn't look so technical.

"But that's not technical, that's a tactical concept of the game.

"We have enough top players in this country that are technically very strong. I think the idea of possession is important, that players can understand patience and how to be with the ball. But I don't think it's from a lack of technical quality."

Allen - who was bought for around £15 million in the summer - is one of the smallest players in the Premier League, but Rodgers does not see that as a problem because he is assured with the ball at his feet. He hinted he would look to bring in a number of similar players to the Wales international in future.

"For me, it doesn't matter how big or small they are," he said. "With the ball, I like my players to have a good level of technical ability, but I also like them to have the desire and the will when they haven't got the ball.

"If you are going to play a technical game, you need technical players, it's as simple as that. Obviously that's the way in which I like the players to play, and certainly something that we will look for in the future."

Considering Liverpool's well documented recent transfer troubles, the former Swansea boss may look to the youth team for those additions. With the likes of Raheem Sterling making an immediate impact on the first team, he praised the quality of the work being done in the club's academy setup.

"I think the players here are well coached and the guys do a terrific job," he said. "I think my job is just to reinforce that.

"The best thing other than scoring goals in the game of football is having the ball. I like the players to love to have the ball, and that's something that hopefully over time here we get to see, because it's an effective way of playing and a way that can win games."

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