Spearing returns to Liverpool as Academy player-coach
Written by Training Ground Guru — June 18, 2022
JAY SPEARING is returning to Liverpool after nine years to become a player-coach with their Academy.
The 33-year-old left Tranmere at the end of last season after two years and will coach with Liverpool’s Under-18s, while being eligible to play for their U21 side. Academy Manager Alex Inglethorpe said: "It's fantastic to welcome Jay back to the Academy and he will work with the U18s as a full-time coach.
"Jay will be actively involved on the training field with our young players. He will also be eligible to play for the U21s to provide experience for the young players when we need him.
"Jay is still quite young and the impact he can have around the U18s is invaluable because he is someone who lives and breathes this club. More important, Jay has played across all four divisions, so I think he will be a really good addition for us."
The move echoes that of other sides that have brought experienced player-coaches into their Academy sides.
The first were Brighton, who signed 36-year-old Andrew Crofts in 2019 to both play in and help coach their U23s. Manchester United followed suit last season by bringing in Paul McShane to perform the same role.
As TGG reported yesterday, Premier League 2 has now reverted to being an U21 competition and clubs are permitted to field five (up from three) over-aged players.
Spearing came through as a youth player at Liverpool and went on to make 55 appearances for his hometown club, including a start in the 2012 FA Cup final. After leaving the Reds in 2013 he went on to play for Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool and then joined Tranmere in 2020.
Liverpool’s U23s Head Coach is Barry Lewtas, while the U18s are led by Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, who is assisted by Tim Jenkins.
In a similar vein, Bolton Wanderers have appointed midfielder Andrew Tutte as player-coach of their new B Team.
The 31-year-old played 21 games for Wanderers in the last two seasons and will assistant to B Team Head Coach Matt Craddock.