Danks leaves Villa to become assistant to Carrick at Middlesbrough

Danks with the Under-20 World Cup trophy that England won in 2017

Danks with the Under-20 World Cup trophy that England won in 2017

AARON DANKS has been appointed as Assistant Head Coach at Middlesbrough after leaving Aston Villa following a year as first-team coach.

Danks joined Villa under Dean Smith in September 2021 and went on to serve under Steven Gerrard. However, following the arrival of Unai Emery - and six of his staff - the coach has now moved on.

The 39-year-old will serve as assistant to Head Coach Michael Carrick at Boro. The former Manchester United and England midfielder was appointed in October and installed Jonathan Woodgate as his first-team coach, with Grant Leadbitter taking on a development role between first team and Academy.

However, Carrick was always clear that he wanted to add another assistant and that man is Danks. The Midlander is a UEFA Pro Licence coach who began his career with Birmingham City as Community Football Development Officer and then Academy coach. In 2005, he moved to nearby West Brom, working under Dan Ashworth, who was Academy Manager and then Technical Director.

Danks worked through the age groups, from Under-12s to becoming Head of the Professional Development Phase (U18s to U23s). He also had a two-year stint as Head of Academy Analysis.

In June 2016, he joined Ashworth at the FA, becoming Lead Specialist Coach in an innovative new department that had been set up by Technical Director Ashworth, Head of Coaching Matt Crocker and Head of Strategy and Performance Dave Reddin.

Danks worked with the different age group teams with a particular focus on in-possession coaching. In 2017 he was part of the staff that helped England win the U20 World Cup.

Speaking at TGG’s Individual Development Coaching Webinar last June, Crocker described Danks as an “innovative, forward-thinking leader”, who provided “not only support, but also high-level challenge.”

“He was a pioneer in that field and had a big influence on me and my view of individual coaching.”

In June 2021, Danks left the FA for a short stint as assistant at Belgian side Anderlecht. He joined Villa three months later, but now that spell has come to an end.

Writing on Twitter, Danks said: “My time at Aston Villa has come to an end. I have loved the experience that the club gave me and the many people I have had the privilege to work with and get to know personally.

“I’d like to thank Johan Lange (Sporting Director) for the vision he had for me and my coaching journey, the two fantastic Head Coaches, Dean and Steven, who trusted me to be myself and to Cuts (goalkeeper coach Neil Cutler), who has been my brother through all the ups and downs.

“To the fans, it was an honour and privilege to represent you on the touchline. You can really make a difference when you get Villa Park rocking. My final message has to go to the players, from whom I learnt the most. Thank you for letting me coach you, there are some incredible people in that dressing room.

"It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you all. Stay together and chase your dreams. A new coaching opportunity awaits for me and I cannot wait to get back on the grass doing what I love.”

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