Major changes seem to be underway at Liverpool's Kirkby Academy with two high profile dismissals from the club.
Liverpool have sacked two major members of their academy staff: Frank McParland and Rodolfo Borrell, after a four year spell at the club.
Many have said that MacParland and Borrell revolutionised the academy, and the events of the past 24 hours is understood to have come as a massive shock to many of the younger players.
The Independent has reported that it was a case of the two having doubts over the future direction of the academy which has caused some divisions within the club, resulting in Managing Director Ian Ayre eventually removing them from their posts.
Defender Andre Wisdom, who is currently on loan at Derby County, described Borrell as his mentor. Wisdom broke into the first team last season whilst Brendan Rodgers has had several youngsters at his disposal including Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe – whilst also being able to hand a debut to Jerome Sinclair in the Capital One Cup last season.
John Flanagan, Jack Robinson and Martin Kelly are players who have also featured for the first team in recent years having come through the academy set up.
As shocked as some people are at their dismissal, there does appear to be an exception to the norm in former youth player Lewis Hatch on Twitter.
Made up to see he's been sacked!— Lewis Hatch (@lewis_hatch6) November 21, 2013
Hatch left the academy for Accrington Stanley before eventually being released in October last year, and doesn’t appear to have found a club since.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wasn’t asked directly about the situation with McParland and Borrell at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Merseyside derby but did say he has a big role and interest in the youth development side of the club, and spoke about what he looks for in a younger player.
He told the media: ‘I’ve been heavily involved at the academy. My first look is always within. Whether it’s for players or whether it’s for staff. I think the biggest thing I can give people is an opportunity.
‘A lot of my life was spent in youth development. I was an academy director at Reading so I understand all facets of development.
‘It’s very difficult for young players now but they will always get a chance and an opportunity here if they’re professional and they’re showing that quality.
‘If they break through early and can’t sustain it, then it can be natural. They might need a loan period, as long as they’re ready by 20/21. That’s what an academy is about, it’s a place to learn and develop and ultimately get through into the first team.’
image: © froderamone