|Job||xxxx Football Coach|
|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Liverpool [Youth Coach]|
2019 08 28 Retrieve
[Liverpool U18 coach Barry Lewtas introduces the class of 2019] Yeah, you get goals when you watch us!. It’s a good start, but still loads to do
[In addition, Lewtas’ assistant, Scott Mason, has joined Gerrard up at Rangers. Jonathan Robinson is his replacement. Much has changed, even if the demands of the role haven’t] That’s the job. It’s an exciting part of the job because there’s no complacency there. You turn back up on July 1 and you have to go again with a new team, a new group. You have to start creating that environment, those day to day habits all over again. The aim is the same, just as it was last year. The aim was to get as many players as we could up to the under-23s, and that doesn’t change. We’re here to provide for Critch, and then Critch hopefully provides for the first team
[The likes of Rhian Brewster, Harvey Elliott, Sepp van den Berg, Ki-Jana Hoever, Curtis Jones and Adam Lewis - all 19 or younger - are on the cusp of the first team, while Yasser Larouci and Bobby Duncan picked up senior experience during pre-season, heading to America with Klopp’s first team. Lewtas watched their progress with interest] I was more nervous then than I was for the Youth Cup final!
[Lewtas has also been encouraged by what he has seen from his other first-year scholars] Layton is the one who has scored a few goals and got a bit of attention. He’s a Huyton lad who has been with us a long time. He’s hit the ground running, which for any No.9 is ideal, it’s what you want to do. For us, the journey is a long one. There are plenty of parts he needs to improve, but in fairness to him he’s been attentive, he’s bought in from day one and he’s listening every day. That’s paying dividends so far, and hopefully that continues. Elsewhere, we’ve a new centre-back in Billy Koumetio, who is a really good personality. He’s really strong in terms of how he wants to defend, with aggression on the front foot. And he wants to get better, which is important when you’re adding new players into groups. You’d think he’d been here for years and his performances have been really good
James Norris is another local lad, West Derby boy, and he’s started the season well. He plays left-back and midfield, a real all-action player, very dynamic and industrious, but he can be very creative as well with his energy and driving forward. He’s started the season well. Tom Hill is an old-fashioned box-to-box midfield player who has scored a few goals too. He reaps his rewards for running forward, because he doesn’t stop. Credit to him, he’s contributing with goals and assists, affecting games at both ends of the pitch. The same goes for James Balagizi, who is more of a midfielder but has been playing a bit as a loose No.9 alongside Layton. They bounced through the door on the opening day and haven’t looked back
[about outcomes and processes] It’s a balance. How can I tell the boys that trophies don’t matter, when they’re thinking about a final on national TV, or a semi-final at Anfield or trips abroad in the UEFA Youth League? The lads want to prove they can compete and win. But for me, it’s about the environment you create, day in and day out. It’s about the standards we set in training, and how that enables the boys to develop. We’re here to build good footballers and good people, and if they can win things on the way, then all the better
2019 01 21 Retrieve
[Why Ki-Jana Hoever’s rise is set to inspire Liverpool’s talented young stars] I am enjoying being part of it and I’m privileged to lead the team in it. We want to win it and we’ll go full at it. It does carry a lot of prestige, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
[Even better that Curtis Jones and Rafa Camacho, 17 and 18 respectively, made their senior bows in the same game. Lewtas, of course, worked with both during his spell as under-16s coach] It’s a big motivation for us coaches, to be working with players that could end up being required by the first team. And it must be a big motivation for the boys as well when they see their peers being asked to go up and train or play
We were in the airport on the way back from a tournament in Germany before the [Wolves] game, and few of the boys were speaking to Curtis on FaceTime. They are team-mates, but they’re also friends. We certainly use it in terms of showing them that there is a pathway here. If you train hard, if you perform and get the opportunity to go to Melwood then you need to take that chance. The boys who have gone up there have certainly impressed. If you are capable of doing that the manager will keep you there and work with you.
[with Klopp’s defensive options decimated by injury over the Christmas period, there was no hesitation in sending the teenager up to Melwood to train. There, Hoever held his own against the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, earning himself a chance when Klopp rotated for the cup] We flew back from Germany so I had to rush home to watch the game. I got in just in time. And when [Dejan] Lovren got injured and the camera panned to Trent [Alexander-Arnold], I thought ‘interesting, Trent playing centre back?’ Then I saw Ki-Jana put his top on, it was like ‘wow!’
[So what did he make of his performance?] Listen, I can’t lay claim to Ki-Jana because he hasn’t been here that long but I was nervous, especially when he started taking everyone on!. Basically, you don’t want him to fail on the things you’ve worked with him on in training!
But I thought he showed an awful lot of composure against an experienced team. He was very mature and did ever so well.
It’s great. Wherever you work, if someone gets a promotion, you’re chuffed for them, as long as they aren’t taking your spot! I’m made up for all three of them. Curtis has been here an extremely long time. To walk in here at the age of seven or eight and then pull on the shirt for the first team was great for him.
It was nice to speak to Ki-Jana’s dad in Holland and hear how happy he was. There’s a real feel-good factor when it happens
2019 10 02 Retrieve
[Barry Lewtas believes the consistency and technical quality of Leighton Clarkson is behind the youngster’s recent call-up to the Liverpool senior side] It [his call-up] could be a mixture of a number of things really. Leighton has been consistently good for a season and has carried it on this year. He is technically a good player, which always helps when you are stepping up to that environment where the level is extremely high as it helps you survive. The communication between Alex [Inglethorpe, Liverpool’s Academy director] at Melwood and the pathway from the Academy is there, they are watching games and seeing consistent performances from Leighton and how he conducts himself and how professional he is, and they’ve seen enough to get him up there. Once he’s up there, it’s up to him. And obviously he’s done okay. He will train there in morning and he’ll come back here and he’s in the gym with the lads in the afternoon, it’s not like they go there and that’s it. They still do their work at the Academy as well. They are probably desperate to come back and tell everyone stories to be honest!
[Jones is likely to captain the team, and Lewtas says that, like James Milner, he has been encouraged by the way in which the young Scouser has stepped up his game of late] Inside the Academy we have to realise that sometimes young lads do makes mistakes and have to learn from them. In this environment you have to learn quickly. Curtis Jones was captain in Naples and I was impressed by how mature and responsible he was, not just on the pitch but around the place. He was a leader when we were there. If the senior professionals, like Milner, have noticed a change, then that’s really good. That’s part of growing up. His form for Critch [under-23s boss Neil Critchley] has been a positive. The standard of players, especially the attacking ones at Melwood, surely has to serve as motivation, not just for Curtis but for all the youngsters. We are in a fortunate position where the group is so close-knit. Curtis plays for the first team, gets man of the match, then a few days later scores twice for the U23s. He’ll be desperate to play on Wednesday. Fantastic week for him, it’s only good for his development
[On Harvey Elliott, whose performance against MK Dons was eye-catching] Harvey is in here quite a bit. He’s a nice kid. You sometimes forget he is only 16, he’s a young boy. He’s polite and seems a nice kid. But when he plays, he seems to have a real maturity and confidence in his performance
2020 03 18 Retrieve
[Meet Layton Stewart, Liverpool’s latest young goal machine] He’s been with us a long time. ney is a long one, there are plenty of parts he wants to improve but in fairness to him, he’s been attentive, he’s bought in from day one and he’s been listening every day
2020 05 28 Retrieve
[Barry Lewtas says Norris and Hill head latest group of Academy stars] It’s a very good group. It’ll be exciting to see if they can hit the ground running. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they develop. You can judge a season in different ways. From the outside, people may say we went out of the Youth Cup early and we were so many points behind Manchester City in the league, but it’s not just about that
[Tom Hill started the game and the Formby-based forward’s development has been particularly eye-catching] It’s been a really good season for him. Tom was in my team at Under-12s, and then at the back end of last year, just before the Youth Cup final, we travelled to America for the Dallas Cup. Tom and Layton Stewart came with us. He played against New York City. It was their Under-19 team and we basically played an under-17 side, but Tom was brilliant. He really impressed me that day with his attitude and commitment, and when he came back for pre-season, he carried that on. He’s very coachable, his attitude is spot on and his levels are good. He earned his place in the team. Credit to him, every challenge that’s been put down in front of him he’s risen to. He’s very good out of possession, he is intelligent and understands that part of the game and how important it is. As a coach, you can trust him in those situations. He’s very tenacious, but he’s also got a real knack of running forward in key areas. He creates chances and he scores goals, and if you were listing skills for an attacking midfielder or a forward, they’d rank quite high wouldn’t they?! He’s someone with a lot of attributes. He’s had a really good season, and I’m so pleased for him because he’s worked so hard.
[on James Norris] He’ll perhaps be one of the more disappointed ones about how the season has ended. But he’s been a real good performer for us. He’s played in most of the games, and he’s moved up to the 23s and played there. I wanted to give him experience of playing different positions this season. We wanted to expand parts of his game technically, put him under a little bit of pressure. He’s been a real good performer for us. He’s had a real impact. He’s competitive, hates losing, and he sets good standards every single day
[on Billy Koumetio] He’s done really well. He’s got a head start on the rest of the Under-16s coming up next year. An opportunity came up this season and he took it. He’s had good exposure to Under-18s football. He’s probably played a few positions that aren’t natural to him, but he was a starter from day one, and that says a lot. It’ll be interesting to see how he evolves. When you come out of the schoolboy programme, that’s when you start forming a bit of an identity as a player and as a person. It becomes your job, and it’s about how you commit to it every day. I think he’ll be an attacking midfielder, a No.8, but he’s played deeper at times this season. That’s important. When I look at Premier League midfielders now, and let’s take Liverpool as an example, they can play in a number of positions. (Jordan) Henderson and (Gini) Wijnaldum are perfect examples. For a midfielder, you have to have as much as they can in your armoury. It’s always exciting to see how the boys coming up develop. They’re swapping school for work, if you like. There is interest and attention, the scores get published now and you get a bit of profile. It is all a challenge and you have to rise to it, but I think they will. It’s a good group, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they all progress