News'It has been an honour' – Jay Spearing on LFC role and returning 'home'
Jay Spearing says it has been an honour to wear the Liverpool FC crest once again following his first steps into coaching with the Reds.
The 33-year-old made an emotional return to Anfield in the summer, becoming a full-time U18s coach upon the expiry of his contract at Tranmere Rovers.
His role at the Academy also sees him eligible to represent and train alongside the U21s squad in a bid to help pass on his vast experience to the next generation of players.
Spearing made 55 senior appearances for Liverpool before his departure in 2013 – including starting the 2012 FA Cup final under boyhood hero Sir Kenny Dalglish.
He captained the Reds' 2007 FA Youth Cup-winning team having joined the club aged just seven, and went on to feature across all four professional leagues in England during his career.
His new role has seen him work closely with both U18s boss Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and U21s head coach Barry Lewtas alongside Academy director Alex Inglethorpe in Kirkby.
"The role is quite new to the game," Spearing told the Liverpool Echo.
"It has been something some clubs have done over the last couple of years and when Alex asked me to come and do it, I had no idea what it entailed.
"At the end of the day, I want to become a coach. Right now, I couldn't have asked for a better transition as I'm still able to train every day, demand standards and show everything on and off the field that Alex wants the boys to follow.
"It has taken a while to get used to, having been in the professional game for so long.
"There are different ways of training, different patterns and different training times and I was just trying to get my body around that when starting out.
"The first couple of weeks for me was about breaking down walls with the boys and speaking to the lads to let me on their side and to trust me.
"Once those barriers were broken, the football came easily, and I started to gain relationships on and off the field with the boys. We are now working on individual things and helping them get better.
"It has been an absolute honour to put on the crest and wear the red kit again. It just feels like home and there's not one bad word I could say about it."
Reds legend, former teammate and current Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard began his own coaching path in a similar role in 2017 with the Academy.
Spearing believes he is a great example of what can happen if hard work is applied.
"If I take a path similar to him, I would be very fortunate," he said.
"I will strive and work hard to go and get that. Right now, all I can do is concentrate on the journey and the opportunity I have been given. I will learn and see what comes.
"There is a lot of hard work ahead but the end goal is to get myself out there in the big wide world of the professional game.
"Steven was one of the people who passed on the message to say 'Good luck and learn' after I was appointed."
He added: "The Academy is a great place to learn but also make mistakes behind the scenes, without the cameras and pundits, where I won't be crucified or sacked after five games."