Jayden Danns showed the fruits of his progress this season as the 17-year-old striker inspired Liverpool under-18s to a 4-0 thumping of Leeds.
Liverpool U18s 4-0 Leeds U18s
U18 Premier League, AXA Training Centre
April 14, 2023
Goals: Danns pen 10′ 90+1′, Gift 34′, Koumas 75′
Though Danns began the season as a bit-part player for the U18s, the teenager’s development will be one of the overriding positives of the academy season.
With Ben Doak graduating to the under-21s and beyond, and Trent Kone-Doherty now sidelined with an injury that has ended his campaign early, the son of former coach Neil Danns has stepped up.
That was no more apparent than at the AXA Training Centre on Friday night, as Danns produced an excellent display with two goals and an assist against Leeds.
His first came under frustrating circumstances, with Ranel Young – who himself came off the bench to score twice in the U18s’ 4-0 win at Newcastle in midweek – forced off through injury after a challenge that earned Liverpool a penalty.
Danns stepped up to convert, and before half-time Young’s replacement, Spanish winger Elijah Gift, had made it 2-0 by converting Keyrol Figueroa’s cross.
HT: Liverpool U18s 2-0 Leeds U18s
The game was marked by a series of questionable tackles by the visitors, but Liverpool stood up well – chiefly Josh Davidson, a natural right-back who was deployed at the base of the midfield.
Leeds had their chances, with Fabian Mrozek’s bar taking a hammering, though they were not able to breach the impressive Polish ‘keeper’s goal.
Instead, the young Reds added gloss in the closing stages, including a goal for substitute Lewis Koumas which came after some stunning close control from Danns in the box.
Danns then made it 4-0 in stoppage time, as he ghosted into space and leapt to meet Davidson’s cross with a powerful header that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
Victory leaves Liverpool fifth in the league, and with only three games left to play – against Derby, Stoke and Newcastle – the highest they can finish is third.
TIA Man of the Match: Jayden Danns
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Miles, Pitt, Furnell-Gill (Koumas 63′), Scanlon; Davidson, Onanuga, Kelly (Pennington 79′); Figueroa (McConnell 63′), Young (Gift 11′), Danns
Subs not used: Hewitson
Next match: Derby (A) – U18 Premier League – Tuesday, April 18, 7pm (BST)