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15th Aug 2015

Brendan Rodgers thanked Jonathan Walters for what he did to Joe Gomez last week

Some vital experience

Darragh Murphy

Say what you will about Brendan Rodgers but he’s always had an excellent reputation for nurturing young talent.

Some impressive performances from 18-year-old Joe Gomez in preseason brought huge excitement to Reds fans who thought that their problems at left back were over.

Liverpool FC Press Conference & Training Session

But Gomez had a much less thrilling performance when he played in his first competitive game in a Liverpool shirt against Stoke last weekend as he struggled against the robust challenge of Jonathan Walters.

Rodgers believes that tough tests like that have are what improve young players the most and he revealed that he pulled Walters aside after the game to thank him for troubling his young full back so much.

Stoke City v Liverpool - Premier League

“For a young player of 18 years of age, to make his Premier League debut away at Stoke against an outstanding player in Jonathan Walters, with the experience that he has, and to cope as well as he did.

“I spoke to Jonathan Walters after the game and thanked him for giving him that experience! He spoke well of him as well and knew he was a tough opponent to play against.

“He’s 18 but what struck me when I first met him was his maturity, he’s a very humble boy, he recognises the opportunity.”

Bizarrely Rodgers managed to avoid using the term “character building” when the phrase was actually apt.

H/t to Liverpool Echo

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