ACADEMY director Frank McParland admits international call-ups are a source of pride but insists getting players into Liverpool’s first team remains the priority.
Reds youngsters Andre Wisdom and Jon Flanagan have joined Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey in the England Under-21 squad this week.
Academy graduate Martin Kelly was also called up for the Euro 2013 qualifier against Azerbaijan at Watford tomorrow night but had to withdraw due to a hamstring injury.
“Some observers might point to the fact we have just had five players called up for the England Under-21s as proof of how much emphasis we have now placed on developing young talent,” McParland said.
“It’s great news but we’ll always look to do even better as an Academy and as a club.
“Our main objective is always to develop young players capable of becoming regulars in the first team. International recognition is great but it comes secondary to Liverpool which will always be our priority.
“That’s why our staff were made up when we saw two of our scholars make further inroads into the first team squad at Exeter last week. Jack Robinson and Jon Flanagan got another appear-ance under their belts and the boss has been more than satisfied with them.”
Talented winger Raheem Sterling also travelled with the first team squad and McParland said: “There was a lot of speculation in the lead up to the game with Exeter that Raheem Sterling may have been involved too.
“It’s important to illustrate just how much the experience of being in and around the squad will benefit him.”