Home-grown Flanagan signals dawn of new Red era
Liverpool's owners' vision for the future of the club has earned the unequivocal backing of their record signing, with Andy Carroll confident big-name players can still be lured.
The club's most recent debutant, John Flanagan, is also a keen advocate, insisting that more starlets are ready to follow his path from academy to first team.
John Henry and Tom Werner, the principal backers of the Fenway Sports Group consortium which bought the club for £300m in October, intend to overhaul Kenny Dalglish's squad in favour of a more economically viable model balanced between high-profile stars and home-grown talent.
Liverpool supporters were offered a glimpse of that future on Monday night, as Carroll -- ably supported by Luis Suarez -- scored his first two goals since his £35m transfer to help Dalglish's side to a 3-0 win against Manchester City and Flanagan, an 18-year-old right-back fresh from the club's youth system, made an accomplished debut in defence.
Though Flanagan was involved on Monday night only because of injuries to Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly, his presence in Dalglish's side highlighted that Liverpool's Kirkby production line is cranking back into action, and several of Flanagan's peers from the club's youth system are expected to be promoted to the first-team squad in the summer.
Under the Americans' model, money saved on their salaries will be put towards wages for high-calibre first-team players -- Sylvain Marveaux, of Rennes, and Newcastle's Jose Enrique are expected to be just two among several signings this summer -- and Carroll is confident the club, despite their continued absence from the Champions League, will have no trouble attracting stars.
"There are massive names here," said the striker. "It is a massive club. I do not see why we cannot attract big names." (© Daily Telegraph, London)