Jayden Danns had chance to be coached by his dad at Liverpool – why he said no

Jayden Danns is one of several players at the Liverpool academy with a footballing father. His dad, Neil Danns, spoke to This Is Anfield and explained why he decided not to coach his son.

With Danns in the spotlight after winning the League Cup and scoring twice vs. Southampton in the FA Cup, we looked back at an exclusive interview with his father, Neil, who is now Tranmere’s assistant manager.

In 2022, Danns Sr. explained to This Is Anfield how he planned to allow his son to develop, and how this included choosing not to directly coach his son at the academy.

Now, assistant to Nigel Adkins at Tranmere, a couple of years ago Danns was working as a coach at the academy, a time when his son, Jayden, was just breaking into the under-18s.

Neil told This Is Anfield: “I haven’t been coaching him directly at the academy. I had the opportunity to work with his group, but I decided not to.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 23, 2023: Liverpool's Jayden Danns during the Under-18 Premier League North match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Everton FC Under-18's, the Mini-Mini-Merseyside Derby, at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He explained the reason being: “Just because I’d like for him to go on the journey by himself, without having the pressures of me getting on his back!”

The former Premier League player also told of how Jayden still had “a lot to learn and a long way to go,” but “with the standard of coaching that goes on at the academy” he was in “no better hands to take his game to the next level.”

His comments from 2022 definitely suggest he saw something in his son to suggest he had a bright future in football.

Danns Sr. said: “We know to get in that Liverpool first team you have to be a special player, and Jayden has just got to focus on himself, keep his head down, keep working hard every single day and see where it takes him.

“I’m proud of him no matter what because I see the work that he does put in. He’s got a great attitude, so long may that continue.”

Danns’ under-18 coach, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, said similar about the young forward, telling This Is Anfield recently: “I think Jayden’s personality is infectious, his character and his attitude towards football is top.

“He’s trying to get better every day, every moment of every day, and it’s no surprise to anybody that works with him the improvements that he’s starting to make. I’m sure that he’ll continue to do that.”

Young Danns hasn’t been giving the narrative answer when he’s said it’s been his dream to play for Liverpool. His father, Neil, explained: “His dream is to one day wear the red shirt and come on at Anfield. If that’s his dream, then that’s my dream [for him!].”

It is fantastic to see that dream coming true, and even better to watch him contribute in a significant way to major honours.

Danns’ hard work doesn’t stop now, though, as his father told the Athletic after Sunday’s League Cup final.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 22, 2022: Liverpool'selebrates after scoring the second goalhamed Salah cg2 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
Jayden Danns as a ball boy at Anfield in 2022

“It’s crazy. I’m proud of him but the journey has just started and he knows he’s got a lot of hard work in front of him,” Neil said.

“Scoring the winner would have been a dream — but it was a dream anyway. It’s just good he’s getting himself into positions at that level where he’s making himself a threat, which is good for his learning and development.”

He has scored two goals for the Reds since then, another feat his father is no doubt very proud of.