Brendan Rodgers today tipped young wingers Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe to continue their progression into first-team regulars -? as long as they continue to put in the hard graft to ensure they maintain their development.
The duo have been involved in the manager’s senior squads so far this season, with Sterling making two starts and Ibe one.
However, Rodgers feels it’s important to recognize the pair still have plenty of work ahead of them if they’re to become the finished articles — but he’s can confident they have what it takes to fulfill their vast potential.
“Jordon is only 17 years of age and even Raheem is only 18,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “We can’t forget that.
“We don’t want to rush these young players’ development even though we want young players to come through and we want to put them in the first team. We’ve done that over the course of the last year or so.
“But it is also important to understand that it comes at different stages for some players.
“Jordon has been in and around the first team for most of the season but there is probably going to come a stage where he needs to go out and play games and feel the pressure.
“But at 17 years of age, he is still developing.
“Look at Raheem’s progress and what he’s done in the last year or so. He has propelled himself from a youth team and reserve player to an England player.
“But they still have a long way to go in their professional careers and at this stage we’re just looking to manage that and make sure we nurture that for the future.”
“They understand that if you are focused and playing well then you will play,” Rodgers added.
“But in the modern game it can be difficult for young players to break through.
“Over the last year or so they have seen that they are going to get an opportunity and if they can devote their life, be professional and take the opportunities when they come then they are going to have an excellent chance.
“You just have to give them the time and understanding. There are not going to be too many 17 or 18-year-olds ready for the first team, but we want them to be at 20 or 21.”