Education Education Education

Updated: 3 things we learnt from last night’s football. Now with added poll

Champions League and Championship-related schooling

World’s fattest man finally leaves home

1. Rafa has failed to think of the children
Whilst continual whinging about lack of funds has earned him an undeserved amount of sympathy, Rafa Benitez’s failure to bring through a single young player of any note during his five years at Anfield is pretty damning. Both United and Arsenal have a number of young players who have been developed through the clubs’ feeder teams (albeit often poaching them from other clubs in their late teens.) Yet Rafa, despite booting out Steve Heighway as Youth Development Manager and replacing him with err…himself, has merely signed dud after dud after dud, whilst ignoring local, young players entirely.
That, and not lack of funds, is why the Liverpool squad is so poor, and their bench so shallow.

2. Platini may have been right
Last night was possibly the best evening of Champions League football in a while, and much of it down to the tinkering Michel Platini made to qualification in the summer. Rubin Kazan, Unirea Urziceni and Dinamo Kiev all received direct passes into the group stage this year whilst Debrecen had a far easier time of qualifying into the Champions League proper, due to Platini’s ruse of pairing seeds.
After a slow start, it’s shaping up to be the best Champions Leaue group stage for a while, and were Inter, Liverpool and Milan to fall at the first hurdle, Platini would be a vindicated man.

3. Winning isn’t always a good idea
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it Gareth.

What did you learn last night? Tell us below

13 responses so far
  • HJ // October 21, 2009 at 10:32 am

    “Rafa Benitez’s failure to bring through a single young player of any note during his five years at Anfield is pretty damning.”

    You could have justifiably made this comment after any other game, but actually last night Martin Kelly made his debut and he showed great potential. Spearing played at the weekend as well…. And there is Insua – he was plucked from the Boca youth system and played for Liverpool reserves for two years before progressing to the first team, and played for Argentina recently (although Maradona hasn’t been exactly reticent in picking new players.)

    You could also argue that Stephen Warnock is an academy player thats made the grade, although he was never given a fair chance at Anfield.

    Who was the last player Chelsea brought through their system despite paying millions for a new Academy? Terry.

    It is an issue at Liverpool, but one that is being resolved. The sacking of Heighway may have seemed unnecessary but there was very little progress being made. Rafa has made a number of positive steps in rectifying the matter, and with the changes in Champions League player quotas coming soon, I think we’ll see a greater number of the young players getting a game than we have previously.

  • McRib // October 21, 2009 at 10:46 am

    “Rafa Benitez’s failure to bring through a single young player of any note”

    Bollocks. Emiliano Insua – first choice left back for Liverpool and has now been called up to the Argentina squad. Played the full 90 minutes in their last 2 qualifiers.

    Also, Martin Kelly played really well last night, and Jay Spearing and Dani Ayala have had impressive games for the first team and Pacheco and Nemeth are close to being first team players. Do your research.

  • Eliot Pollak // October 21, 2009 at 11:48 am

    HJ – the very reason it seems so pertinent this morning is because the hullabaloo surrounding Martin Kelly confirmed what a rare occasion it was.

    Also, Stephen Warnock plays for Aston Villa the last time I checked. I don’t think Liverpool benefit hugely from that. This isn’t Crewe – the purpose of the Liverpool academy isn’t to produce players for other big clubs.

    McRib – Insua cannot compare with the left-backs of the other top 4 clubs, as any Liverpool fan must admit. If they weren’t managed by a drug-addled maniac, he would also never have an Argentina cap. Bear in mind Jonas Gutierrez played as the other full-back in both the qualifiers you mention.

    Pacheco, Spearing, Ayala, Nemeth – 5 years of Rafa and these are the names you produce. Its the Kop’s blinkered attitude to Benitez that has led to the club’s problems – it reminds me of Newcastle fans insisting Alan Shearer was the only man to save them. And look where they are now…

  • Heryi // October 21, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Stick wag gossip and stuff you faggot. football isn’t your plus points.

  • RockAd // October 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Completely sums up Liverpools problems when their fans actually defend Benitez’s youth system by praising the likes of Jay Spearing and Dani Ayala. Here’s hoping for a new contract and a Newcastle-style demise…

  • Squelch // October 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Re: Insua – Being called up to the Argentina squad right now is nothing to shout about.

  • braheyes // October 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Arsenal and Man Utd youngsters have made positive headlines.
    Liverpool can’t say the same…

  • anthonyOA // October 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Great article. I agree on all three points.

  • Jason // October 21, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Stan Collymore made you look like chumps, oh the shame.

  • Jonathan // October 22, 2009 at 2:24 am

    @ McRib – Nemeth is on a season long loan to AEK Athens, hardly close to being in the first team!

    Kelly looked decent vs Lyon, but by all accounts Spearing had a shocker vs Sunderland and was substituted!

    There are some decent young players bubbling below the first team (Gulacsi, Nemeth, Kelly, Pacheco etc) but it is kind of hard not to agree with Eliot’s original argument.

  • McRib // October 22, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    “Nemeth is on a season long loan to AEK Athens, hardly close to being in the first team!”

    Quite the opposite – he’s been loaned out because he’s almost ready, he just needs a bit of experience.

    Elliot – I never said Insua was better than anyone else, however surely it is “of note” that he has played for his national side in the last 2 qualifiers.

  • Tone // October 23, 2009 at 3:53 am

    I love reading comments from people who clearly haven’t got the faintest whiff of a clue what they’re babbling on about.

    We’ve got some great young players coming through, the difference between Benitez and his peers is that he won’t rush them for fear of damaging their career prospects.

    I know this site’s supposed to be comical but I’m sure that’s meant to be the content, not the standard of your research and writing.

  • Matt // October 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Yeah McRib you got it – Paul Tomkins (An LFC Journalist) spent a day with Rafa recently, and says Rafa rates Nemeth highly and is in his future plans.

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