Liverpool youngsters agree new deals

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The Independent Football

Liverpool returned to training today with the confirmation two of their home-grown youngsters had agreed new three-year contracts.

Midfielder Jay Spearing and full-back Stephen Darby - both 20 - are expected to put pen to paper on the new deals later this week.

Spearing - who captained the FA Youth Cup-winning side of 2007 - has made a big impression as a competitive midfielder and made his senior debut last season as a substitute in the Champions League home mauling of Real Madrid.

The memory of the Kop rising to sing the youngster's name as he trotted on to the pitch alongside some of the greats of European football is one of the more endearing moments of last season, and underlined their desire to see local youngsters given a chance by boss Rafael Benitez.

Darby, a former reserve-team skipper, made three first-team appearances last season.

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