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Rodgers backs starlets to shine

By Football News



Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has challenged his players at the UEFA Under-21 European Championship to use it as a stage to shine.

Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Andre Wisdom and Jack Robinson make up the Liverpool contingent for England at the tournament in Israel, and Rodgers expects them all to come back with more experience.

"I always think going to big championships like that is great for their learning," Rodgers said.

"All these football experiences are good for them. I'm not one who is against players representing their countries."

Spain midfielder Juan Mata featured for the Under-21s for the 2011 tournament, despite having won the World Cup with the senior side a year earlier, with the Chelsea player crowned Golden Player as he guided his country to another title.

Rodgers says Mata is a prime example of how appearing at major tournaments can be beneficial to young players still learning their craft.

"Two years ago he (Mata) dropped down from the senior Spain squad to the Under-21s and helped them to win the tournament.

"A year later he was part of the team who won Euro 2012 and then last summer he went off to the Olympics.

"The major tournaments can be really beneficial in terms of helping players in their development."

One Liverpool man who will not feature in Israel is Raheem Sterling, who has been ruled out with a thigh injury.