BIRKENHEAD, England -- Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster to be "patient" in his wait for first-team opportunities after his heroics on the international stage, but warned that youngsters now need to be "world class" to make the grade.
Brewster, 17, played a pivotal role in England under-17s winning the World Cup last month, claiming the Golden Boot award for his eight goals at the tournament in India.
The former Chelsea trainee has been part of Jurgen Klopp's matchday squad on one occasion, but regularly trains at Melwood with the senior side.
Speaking to reporters after Liverpool U19s' win over Maribor in the UEFA Youth League, Gerrard, who manages the team in the competition, said: "He's got to be patient, but not just Rhian -- everyone has.
"We've got wonderful footballers in the first team, especially in the attacking positions, so it's not easy breaking through.
"I think it's getting more and more difficult as time goes by. These kids have got to be world class now. If you're very good, you'll probably be a little bit short, especially in the top-six teams in the Premier League.
"The message for Rhian is: 'Well done. You've been superb and deserve all the plaudits you get. How do you improve now? How do you push yourself and try to move people out of your way that are above you in the pecking order?' That's the challenge for him moving forward."
Brewster has been given some time off by Liverpool to recover from his successful exploits in Asia and was not part of Gerrard's matchday squad that beat Maribor 3-0 at Prenton Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Gerrard added: "He's had a fantastic time over the last few weeks. He deserves to have a little time away to regroup, dust himself down and get ready. But this group needs Rhian Brewster about. He's a top player and we can't wait to have him back.
"It should give him great confidence, a fantastic experience and a hunger to go and do it again the further up he goes.
"My job and everyone else's job at the club is to keep his feet on the ground and hopefully push him in a direction where he can be successful for the club."
Brewster plays for Liverpool's U23s side, managed by Neil Critchley, but has made two appearances for Gerrard's team in the UEFA Youth League so far this season.
"We're always biased. We're employed by Liverpool Football Club, so we want Rhian Brewster in a successful Liverpool team," Gerrard, who is in charge of the club's U18s side, said.
"We want him, we want him firing for the U23s and, basically, making sure Jurgen is taking notice of his performances. That's all he can do.
"I haven't had any time with him yet. I've had a couple of games [with him]. He's Neil Critchley's player, not my player -- even though he's old enough to still fall into my category.
"Hopefully, fingers crossed, he's available for the Youth Cup once that draw comes out. I'll be asking Jurgen very kindly if I can use Ben [Woodburn] and Rhian. Obviously, them decisions will be made further down the line. I love being around Rhian.
"I think he's a great kid and he's got a great mentality to work hard and improve. That's how you get success as a footballer.
"I think if he's got any dreams and aspirations of playing higher than that level then he needs to play at a consistent level and score goals heavily. That's how first-team managers take note."