Liverpool FC: The Reds' Future Starting 11 All Academy Squad
After watching Liverpool's youngsters come in and prove their quality last season, it is on the minds of many Reds supporters, just how far their academy starlets can go.
It has been interesting to dig deeper into the academy players, and some of those that are already starting to push their reputation in the first team.
As the years continue to tick up for veteran Reds like Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt with all of them age 30 or older. It is interesting to speculate whom will rise up through the ranks to eventually fill the voids left by their previous icons.
With that in mind, here is a look at a future starting eleven for the Reds if all the current academy stars were to rise up and take over the first team. Unfortunately not all of these guys may make it, but I certainly am hopeful of all of them showing their class in Red.
Keeper: Peter Gulacsi
Hungarian keeper Peter Gulacsi has proven to be a high potential prospect for the Reds over the past two seasons. The 21-year-old completed his third successful loan move last season when he made his second trip to Tranmere Rovers for 14 games after having made five appearances for them in the 2009-10 season.
Hereford United also used his services for 18 games in 2008-09. Gulacsi returned to the first team after his loan last season, and took up the No.2 spot behind Pepe Reina preferred over Brad Jones as the best possible backup.
RB: John Flanagan
Young John Flanagan is perhaps one of the great youth stories of the last season for any club. Injuries to Fabio Aurelio, and then Martin Kelly had the Reds almost completely out of options at right back as Glen Johnson was already filling in on the left flank.
Flano was called upon to make his debut against Manchester City at home in front of the Kop, and the youngster deputized masterfully in the Reds' 3-0 victory over the Citizens.
He would continue to hold down a regular spot for the remainder of the season making seven first-team appearances against some of the toughest opposition in the EPL.
His reward for all his growth and promise has been a new contract that was signed earlier in the summer as the Reds are looking to tie their most promising young players to the club for the future.
RCB: Martin Kelly
Martin Kelly made his debut in the 2008-09 season in a European match against PSV Eindhoven on December 9, 2008. He had just received his first-team squad number at the start of that season.
His youth career stretched from 1997-2007 as he is one of the academy's longest tenured youngsters currently on the squad. The first and so far only loan spell of his career was during the 2008-09 season when he went to Huddersfield Town for seven matches and scored once for the club.
Kelly became one of the stand out performers of last season when he was thrust into the spotlight by then interim manager Kenny Dalglish and his total of 24 performances throughout the season labeled him as one of the best future defensive prospects for both club and country.
LCB: Daniel Ayala
Daniel Ayala is on the verge of coming of age as a future Reds center half. He spent the first seven years of his youth career with Sevilla In Spain. Upon joining Liverpool in 2007 he split his time with the Reds U18s and the reserve squad.
He made his first team debut in 2009-10 when he played in a run of five games taking up the places of Martin Skrtel and Jamie Carragher. His first start was against Stoke City.
Last season saw him make two separate loans to the Championship. He made 12 appearances for Hull City in the first half of the year and scored once for the Tigers.
The second half saw him sign a loan deal for the remainder of the season with Derby County for 17 games. He made 16 straight starts for the Rams during that time with former Red Nigel Clough showing great confidence in the player.
LB: Jack Robinson
Jack Robinson made his first team debut at the end of the 2009-10 season as a last half substitute against Hull City. The 17-year-old made a better impression this season when he stared against Arsenal along with fellow youth full back John Flanagan.
He has been a Liverpool youth member since 2008 and has been involved in the U15s, U16s, U17s and U18s for England. With a bright future ahead of him at Anfield it seems he will eventually be the long term solution to the left back problem the Reds have been facing for two seasons now.
RM: Nathan Eccleston
Nathan Eccleston made his first team debut in both the League, and the Europe League last season during Roy Hogdson’s time at the helm in. Originally a member of Bury’s youth academy, he joined Liverpool in 2006.
While primarily a striker, he can also play out in the wide areas and the 20-year-old has already started to grow his stock. He has completed two loan spells in the last two seasons. In the 2009-10 season he spent 12 games with Huddersfield Town scoring once and nearly helped them to promotion, but they suffered a defeat to Millwall.
Last year during the 2010-11 season he spent 21 games at Charlton Athletic after making seven appearances for the Reds first team. During his time at the Valley, he scored three goals for the Red Robins.
CM: Conor Coady (Captain)
Conor Coady could essentially be the next homegrown Steven Gerrard. He is one of the clubs brightest central midfield prospects and is known also for his ability to lead on the field. He captained the reserve squad to a second place finish in the reserve league.
He also has been tipped as a leader for England as he captained the U17 squad in their U17 World Cup run this summer. He was an unused substitute on several occasions this past season along with teammate Raheem Sterling.
This year he was involved with the Reds preseason, and scored goals in both of the Malaysian tour games. He could start seeing some first team action in the FA Cup and League Cup fixtures this year.
CM: Thomas Ince
Thomas Ince is the sun of former Manchester United and Liverpool Premier League star Paul Ince. He has been with the Reds since 2008. He has already made his first-team debut which happened last season wearing the No. 45 in the League Cup when he came on against Northampton Town.
Last season he went on loan to Notts County for eight games and scored twice in his six league appearances for the club during his father's time as manager.
Ince is another strong midfield up-and-coming star for the Reds and there are high expectations for him to follow in his father’s footsteps whom made 81 appearances for Liverpool scoring 17 goals.
LM: Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling joined Liverpool from Queens Park Rangers just last season, and although he is only 16 years of age, he is already making waves.
His fee was £600,000, but it has additional clauses that could see it eventually costing around £5 million based on the number of appearances he makes for the first team during his career at Anfield.
He scored five goals in the Reds' 9-0 FA Youth Cup Victory over Southend United. This eventually led to him being on the bench for several games in April as well as the team suffering from an overwhelming number of injuries.
The future is bright for the young star and he is already a key member of the England national sides as he has three goals in 13 caps for the nations U17 squad.
ST: Jesús Fernández Sáez (Suso)
Suso was handed the No. 30 shirt at the start of this season as he looks to possibly make his first team debut in the coming months. The talented young Spanish striker signed his first team contract last November which will keep him at the club until 2013.
He first appeared in a preseason friendly at the age of 16 against Borussia Moenchengladbach and also played in the Jamie Carragher testimonial against Everton, but he has yet to feature in the regular season.
His flair and talent has caught the eye of many while playing in the reserves. The most notable moment being a goal last season against Newcastle United in a 2-2 draw with the Magpies reserve squad.
ST: Adam Morgan
Adam Morgan is another top class young striker that is tipped to be a future Anfield great. The 17-year old led the Liverpool U18's with 21 goals last season, and also had his hand in several of the reserve matches.
His FA Youth Cup brace against Manchester United helped him to make the move to the reserve squad in the second half of last season, and he concluded his summer with a trip to the U17 World Cup with England.
Morgan is another youngster that I expect to start making first team appearances in lower cup ties in the coming seasons, and he will most likely be a full time reserve player in 2011-12.