Monday 11 December 2017

Liverpool wield axe in youth academy overhaul

Ian Herbert

Liverpool's sacked academy director Frank McParland is understood to have been told that the club's American owners decided he should be removed from his post, along with his head coach Rodolfo Borrell, in a move that strengthens Brendan Rodgers' control at the club.

Academy players were stunned to hear news of the dismissals of McParland and Borrell, who were appointed in 2009 in the Rafael Benitez era. Many of the players were huge enthusiasts for Borrell's coaching style, while McParland was also respected within the Kirkby training base as the individual who would enforce discipline when required.

McParland is understood to have had a growing sense of uncertainty about his job in recent days amid doubts about some aspects of the academy's future direction as it develops under the men Rodgers has wanted to see installed.

Neil Critchley arrived from Crewe Alexandra to run the U-18s after Steve Cooper's contract was not renewed at the end of last season, and Alex Inglethorpe, who is close to Rodgers, came from Tottenham to become reserve team manager, five months after Rodgers was appointed manager in 2012.

Rodgers was unwilling to discuss the sacking of McParland or Borrell yesterday. Asked if the removal of the two men demonstrated that he wanted a greater influence, he said: "I have been heavily involved (in the academy).

"My first (priority) is with youth, whether it's players or staff. I understand all facets of academy development. That's something that will never change."

(© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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