How a Pep Lijnders text message summed up Jayden Danns’ rapid rise

Jayden Danns went from an under-18 player to a League Cup winner with Liverpool in a matter of weeks, and a text from Pep Lijnders to academy director Alex Inglethorpe summed up the youngster’s rapid rise.

Liverpool may not have won the Premier League or enjoyed a European triumph this season, but the silverware won was still memorable.

Liverpool’s youngsters beat Chelsea in the League Cup final and one of the academy players to feature was Jayden Danns who, at the start of the season, was playing for the under-18s.

Talking about the striker’s rapid rise to League Cup glory, the Reds’ academy director used Danns as an example of how it can be difficult to predict a youngster’s path.

READ HERE: Lewis Koumas shines as top scorer but Liverpool U21s’ season ends in heartbreak

On Liverpool’s Roundtable video, Inglethorpe said: “What I love about being in the academy is that every year there’s a lesson for you – Dannsy was a good one for me this year.

“You know, last year starts off, [he] couldn’t get in the under-18s. This year, [he] starts off really well in the U18s but couldn’t get in the U21s.

“It wasn’t until a little bit later that I remember phoning Pep (Lijnders) and saying ‘I think you need to have a little look because there is definitely something there but you need to probably have a look’.”

Just over three weeks after being called up to train with the first team, Danns became a League Cup winner.

Grinning, Inglethorpe recalled: “Just after the cup final, Pep texted me and said ‘When you wanted me to take a look, is that what you meant?’

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's Lewis Koumas, Jayden Danns and Trey Nyoni celebrate with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

“So in three weeks, he’s gone from training with the first team to playing in a cup final. You just don’t know, you never know.

“Until you actually step foot in a stadium full of people with the team, I don’t think you ever really know if someone can play until they’re put on the stage and given the opportunity.”

With Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Mo Salah all out, injured or at AFCON, Danns and his young teammate, Lewis Koumas, stepped up and contributed goals to the first team in the early part of 2024.

Three days after the mammoth effort at Wembley, Koumas scored one and Danns two as the Reds beat Southampton 3-0 in a great display, at Anfield in the FA Cup.

With senior players returning from injury, the forwards returned to the under-21s for the end of the season, and the squad’s campaign ended on Sunday night with defeat on penalties at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.