Liverpool’s newly-appointed U23s Assistant Coach Gary O’Neil is extremely excited to get started in his new role at the LFC Academy.
O’Neil was announced as Barry Lewtas’ assistant for the Liverpool U23s side and will now begin a hugely important role for the club as he helps to bring young talent through to the first-team.
Speaking with Liverpoolfc.com about his new post, O’Neil couldn’t hide his excitement at becoming an LFC employee.
“I’m really excited. I’ve been desperate to get going. It’s been going on for a little while and, obviously, with the break and the Academy having to take an even longer break than the first team, I’ve had to wait a little while. But now it’s finally come around and I’m really excited and can’t wait to get going.
“I’ve done all my coaching badges and have known I’d wanted to go that way for a very long time. I think I’ve made no secret of the fact that I want to manage eventually, and when Liverpool speak to you about a job there’s only one answer you give generally – and that was a very quick yes!”
O’Neil also commented on the importance of the U23s setup in providing talent for the first-team and how well run the Academy is, in general.
“The guys at the Academy have done a fantastic job of making sure the boys are good enough because obviously the first team will only take them if they are good enough. Also, the fact that the lads know if they do get to a level where they are good enough, there is a pathway. Last year was great for them getting to play in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and they’ve done well in their own competitions as well. You got to see people like Curtis, who made that progression and hopefully will still go on and have even more of an impact next season. I have been watching from afar but you can see it is extremely well-run, extremely well-organised and there definitely is a pathway if the lads are ready and good enough.”
The former Portsmouth and West Ham midfielder was asked about his playing days, and what it was like to come up against Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, in particular.
“It was basically impossible! I used to dread those games. I remember one time when Harry Redknapp asked me to follow him around everywhere and it was literally impossible. He was so powerful, so quick and you only had to switch off for a second and he was smashing a volley into the back of your net! Especially at Anfield in the second half when they were kicking towards the Kop, you literally felt like the walls were going to cave in! It’s an amazingly special place.”
We wish Gary all the best in his new role as Liverpool U23s Assistant Coach and may it prove a stepping stone to future successes in a managerial role in football.
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