Liverpool confirm Gerrard will take over Under-18s

Steven Gerrard will take over as Liverpool's Under-18s manager ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Liverpool have confirmed former captain Steven Gerrard will take charge of the Under-18s side next season.

Reports linking Gerrard, who returned as an academy coach in February, to the U18s emerged in early April, with first-team manager Jurgen Klopp later confirming he would move into an unspecified new role next season.

The club have now announced the 36-year-old, who scored 186 goals in 710 appearances in a 17-year playing career at Liverpool that included nine major trophies, will be granted sole control of a youth team.

Gerrard replaces Neil Critchley, who moves to the U23s.

"I have really enjoyed my time at the academy so far and feel I have learnt a lot from the coaching staff here already," he told Liverpool's official website.

"After speaking to Alex [Inglethorpe, academy director], we feel as though it is time for me to step up and manage my own team.

"Neil has done a fantastic job with the Under-18s, so I hope I can continue where he left off, encouraging and nurturing players into the Under-23s and eventually the first-team setup."

Gerrard revealed the role Klopp played in his latest appointment and his intention to instil a strong mentality into the young players, removing a "showboating mentality".

"I spoke to Jurgen and we agreed after a few chats that the 18s was the right age group because it still gives you a bit of a spotlight with the coverage it gets but it is a place where you can make a lot of mistakes and grow and learn," he told reporters.

"Every manager and coach I have spoken to has said I will make loads of mistakes, and your first job is better to be away from the cameras. The other offers I got [managing MK Dons], it would have been learning on the job at the deep end and I probably wasn't ready for those jobs.

"I might have been but I didn’t want to take any risks, especially when there is no timescale or plan of where I want to be in a certain time, so the 18s made sense.

"As a player I got many, many tackles wrong and went over the top a few times and I had to apologise. That is not something I want to put into young players at all but you have to prepare them for the top level and the top level is physical and demanding.

"It is about trying to prepare them for the last five or 10 minutes of games when it is hard and your legs are burning and your heart is burning and it is not a nice place to be in as a player.

"You have to get them to be mentally strong to be prepared for that. I hate watching footballers and football when there is no physical side and you don't compete.

"There is a showboating mentality through academies. A lot of kids think they have to do 10 lollipops or Cruyff turns to look good or stand out. We all love a bit of skill and talent but the other side of the game is huge. I have to try and prepare these players for careers in the game."

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