Steven Gerrard handed managerial role at Liverpool

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Steven Gerrard has been appointed manager of Liverpool's under-18s side and will begin his new role at the start of next season.

The Reds stalwart retired from playing a year ago and, having returned to Anfield as an academy coach in January, will take charge of the U18s ahead of next season, with Neil Critchley set to step up to the Under-23s.

Lucas knows Gerrard well and told Sky Sports News HQ: "I have been around at the academy a couple of times and he is very excited".

"Neil has done an excellent job with the Under 18s, so I expect I can continue where he left off, supporting and nurturing players into the Under 23s and eventually the first-team set up".

Current U18s coach Neil Critchley will be moving up to take over the U23s while the manager of that side - Mike Garrity - will move into a backroom role. That's not something I need to place into youthful players at all but you must prepare them for the top level as well as the top level is physical and demanding.

"My teams will be physical. He has done a brilliant job with the U18s since joining us in 2013 and I am sure he will continue to help with the progression of players into the first team". "It is important you channel it in the right way", he added. There are a lot of skilful players in the game that young players try and emulate - probably too much instead of trying to be themselves and playing to their own strengths.

"It is not just about tackles and competing".

"Not all of them will play for Liverpool's first team, but I feel if I can help them to compete in the other side of the game it will help their careers".

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"You must get them to be emotionally strong to be ready for that".

"I've seen a lot of players come out of the academy with huge reputations and go into the Melwood dressing room where it is sink-or-swim".

Club legend Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool's academy talent not to succumb to the expectation of the first-team at Anfield.

Giving his reaction to the appointment, the midfield maestro said that after having spent the last few months with the club and having held discussions with academy director Alex Inglethorpe, he has come to the conclusion that he needs to step up and manage his own team.

Mike Garrity, now managing the U23s, will form part of Critchley's backroom team.

"The U18 players can undoubtedly only learn from having someone like Steven in charge and we have no doubt that he will prove to be a huge success in the position".

"I have regular chats with him and he's been the key behind all this", Gerrard said of his relationship with the German.

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent.