Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is providing the kind of example other youngsters at the club should follow, according to academy technical director Pep Segura.
The 19-year-old has been at the club less than 12 months, having joined from Charlton early last summer, but has already made 18 first team appearances - a tally which would have been greater had a knee operation not sidelined him for two months.
Manager Kenny Dalglish clearly rates the youngster, using him as a substitute in his first six matches after taking over from Roy Hodgson in January before injury struck.
Having returned to fitness Shelvey has come off the bench in the last three games, even filling in at left-back, and outshone more experienced first-teamers Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen and David Ngog, scoring in last night's 2-2 reserve team draw at home to Manchester United.
Segura, who has been in charge of the second string for the last few months, believes Shelvey's development offers encouragement to the latest crop of hopefuls to come out of the academy - with teenagers John Flanagan and Jack Robinson having played their part for the first team in the last month.
"Shelvey demonstrated his quality and he had a fantastic game," said Segura.
"He wants to grow as a player and play for the first team. He was focused and he was a good example for our young players."
Cole and Poulsen, who have started just five matches between them since December 5, both played 90 minutes last night but Ngog was substituted at half-time.
"It was a good experience for the young players to get the chance to play alongside the first team squad players and they will learn a lot from that," added Segura.Reuse content