Damien Comolli discusses Liverpool future

Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli admits increased competition to sign young players means the club must prioritise British-born talent in their search for the next generation of Anfield academy stars.

In his first interview since joining the club following New England Sports Ventures' takeover, Comolli set down his blueprint for taking the club forward under the new American owners, with the development of the club's youth programmes paramount in his plans.

With Premier League clubs casting their nets ever wider in the search for up-and-coming stars, the academy education that once was the preserve of British youngsters has been extended to overseas talent.

Comolli admits Liverpool will still employ a global scouting network, but said the club's priority will be to retain a core element of English talent, typified in the current squad by the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

"We really want to concentrate on getting young English or British kids. I think that's very important if we want to keep an identity to get those kids into the football club," Comolli told www.liverpoolfc.tv.

"Usually the big European clubs don't come into England to get players so there will be massive competition in England with all the other big clubs, and then if we need to go abroad or decide to bring in a young kid from a foreign country because we think he's a top talent then there will be competition with other clubs.

"There are two things. You need to spot them, identify them, make sure they've got the right attitude, the right mentality, the right spirit that you want them around on a day-to-day basis.

"The second thing is convincing them to come. That requires a lot of time, it requires a skill set from the scouts, or from myself."

Comolli revealed he expects former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish to have a big role to play in the recruitment of young players in his role as academy ambassador.

"I'm sure Kenny can have a massive impact if he meets the kid or his parents," Comolli continued.

"That's almost the most difficult part. Spotting a fantastic player is not that difficult, convincing them to come to us, that comes back to competition and that can be more difficult.

"We will have to be very, very good at it."

He added: "The academy comes under my remit and I'm really looking forward to helping the guys continue to develop. I think for the last 12 or 15 months they have worked very well.

"I had time to look at the coaching programmes and what they are trying to do. They are very eager, motivated, they want to develop players, they want to get the best for the club, they want to be one of the leading academies in Europe."

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