Flanagan to seize his chance
Full-back is enjoying the challenge of fighting for a first team place
Last Updated: July 31, 2012 4:40pm
John Flanagan: The young full-back is likely to start in their Europa League qualifier with FC Gomel of Belarus on Thursday
John Flanagan plans to hand Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers a selection headache with a star performance in their Europa League qualifier with FC Gomel of Belarus on Thursday.
Regular right-backs Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly are still some way short of full fitness having started their training late due to their Euro 2012 participation for England.
This means that Flanagan is likely to be given a place in the starting XI after featuring heavily in their pre-season tour of the US in recent weeks.
And the 19-year-old, who made eight appearances for the side last season, is planning to grab hold of his chance with both hands and make a challenge for the right-back spot on a regular basis.
"If there's an injury I've got to be ready to slot in and I can play on either side at the back," he told the Liverpool Echo.
"There's good competition here for the full-back spots. I'm up against one of the best right-backs in the world in Glen. But training with him every day helps me progress and it's great for me to be able to learn from him."
Flanagan featured in all three of Liverpool's games on their tour of North America and is one of a number of young stars being put under scrutiny by the new boss.
Rodgers, who replaced Kenny Dalglish in the summer, prefers a more personal approach to training in a bid to get to know his players better which has impressed the young defender.
"It was great to be out there (on the pre-season tour) and be part of the training camp," he added. "I like the way the new manager is doing things and his style of play. I've learned a lot and I'm looking forward to learning more from him.
"It's different to before where Kenny had (former assistant manager) Steve Clarke to do a lot of the coaching for him. Brendan likes to do his own stuff and tell us man to man what we need to do.
"He has come in and given all the young lads a massive lift. He has said that if we do well there will be opportunities for us and that's good to hear. It was great to hear his plans and everyone wants to be a part of it."