James Milner the right mentor for Liverpool youngsters: Juergen Klopp
Liverpool midfielder James Milner can be the ideal role model for the club's young players after he guided them to a 2-0 League Cup win at Milton Keynes Dons yesterday morning (Singapore time), Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has said.
Milner, 33, opened the scoring against the third-tier side for his first goal in the competition since 2010 and set up another for 17-year-old Dutchman Ki-Jana Hoever to draw praise from Klopp.
"This man is on fire... He's a real role model for young players. If he could play every day, Millie would be like this every day... absolutely brilliant," Klopp said.
Liverpool set up a clash with Arsenal in the fourth round and Klopp, who named four teenagers in his starting side, said youngsters would continue to get more opportunities.
Milner welcomed the competition for places.
"When you look at how good our squad are, it's not easy for the youngsters to get to the level they need to be, but they've shown they want to get better," Milner said.
"Everyone is pushing and that's what the senior boys need: competition for places."
One player who will be pushing his case is Harvey Elliott, who, at 16 years and 174 days old, became the youngest player ever to start a competitive match for the Reds against MK Dons. He belied his tender age with a confident display that almost brought a memorable goal when he twice fired against the crossbar.
"Sixteen years old still and this kind of footballer, it is good for us," Klopp said of Elliott.
"He is a brilliant boy, takes the situation really well, wants to learn and he will always be a special player in moments. But his overall game is really good.
"He was a bit unlucky otherwise he would have scored, he is a good player, but they are all good." - AFP, REUTERS