By Scott Taylor

Michael Beale believes his Liverpool Under 21 side are missing one key element when developing his players, and that is the expectations. In a new three=part series on the site, Under 21s coach Beale gives his opinions on various topics within the Academy, the first being the loan system. In an exclusive interview with the Liverpool Echo, suggested that the only thing that his development sides are lacking compared to the first team is the overall attention they receive. Speaking to Phil Kirkbride, he said: “For every under-21 game we get healthy crowds but they are in the hundreds but first-team games are in front of 42,000. There is the media coverage, the pressure and everything is scrutinised. The u-21s don’t get that.”

The former Chelsea man also admitted that the learning curve is different in Under 21 football compared to playing in the Football League, mainly because of the financial implications involved in the lower leagues.

“There is a great story from when Ryan McLaughlin went out on loan and the captain of the club, on the first day, said to him ‘my mortgage and my contract relies on us doing well’. He really schooled him on the first day. That is different to the education we have here at the Academy. There’s definitely a cut off point from development football to performance and the u-21s programme probably doesn’t give that,” said Beale.

He also mentioned how the connection between the first-team and the Under 21 sides are much stronger, as Brendan Rodgers is implementing his philosophy into the younger players of his side. Beale said: ” U-21s is the same style of football as the first-team but the difference is the pace and the pressure.”

The Under 21s coach then went on to talk about the loan system that Liverpool has, and reminds his players that you dont necessarily have to go out on loan to become a better player. He added: “It is not for everyone because there are exceptions, like Raheem [Sterling].” The coach went on to suggest that the loan system can be beneficial for players if they want regular game time and bemoaned the current setup at Under 21 level. “Look at our fixture list, we play two times in a week and then don’t play for a month. Although we arrange friendlies we don’t have a regular league programme.”

However, he ended the interview by using former players Conor Coady and Kris Peterson as examples of how they loan market works, even though they are no longer Liverpool players. He said: “Kris Peterson went to Tranmere and came back a changed boy. He went with the first-team in pre-season and is now playing for Utrecht. Without that loan I don’t think he would be where he is now because that loan was a big eye opener for him. Conor Coady went out to Sheffield United and played 40 odd games and an FA Cup semi-final so he had a wonderful experience. I’m talking about two boys who have left and, of course, the idea is they stay here and do well. So if it’s the right loan and they get the right things out of it then it’s great.”

The full interview can be found here:

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