U21s preview: 'Jayden Danns is desperate to be the best that he can be'

AcademyU21s preview: 'Jayden Danns is desperate to be the best that he can be'

By Steve Hunter


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Liverpool U21s head coach Barry Lewtas has outlined the potential of striker Jayden Danns, who is enjoying a season to remember at all levels across the club.

After starting the campaign scoring goals for fun at U18 level, Danns moved up to the Reds’ U21s squad just before Christmas.

Further progress was achieved when the 18-year-old came off the bench to lead the line for the seniors in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.

Danns was then able to celebrate another milestone moment in front of the Kop as he netted twice in the Emirates FA Cup win against Southampton.

More recently, he netted a memorable backheel effort for Liverpool U21s in their 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford in Premier League 2.

Including his first-team goals, that strike took his overall tally for the season to 24 and counting.

“Dannsy has been brilliant,” Lewtas told Liverpoolfc.com.

“Obviously he has spent a big chunk of time with Bridgey [Marc Bridge-Wilkinson], who deserves a lot of credit with his staff, and you can see the work that has been done with him at U18 level.

“He did ever so well at U18 level and scored a lot of goals and then he moved up with us, then it was straight into the first team!

“It’s great to have him around the group, he’s a real good kid, a good attitude and he is desperate to be the best, there’s no question of that.

“He has been a real kind of good character to add to the group, but on top of that as well it’s even better having good players, which he is, and he has certainly led the line well for us when he has played.

“He took his goal ever so well at Old Trafford, it was some finish! That’s totally down to the player, improvisation and understanding what’s about and taking your opportunity no matter how it comes to you.

“I said to him hopefully he will score more goals at Old Trafford in his career but he might never score another backheel like that so he should enjoy that one!”

Lewtas’ U21s are back in action tonight when they take on Sunderland in Premier League 2 at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground.

Ahead of the 7pm BST kick-off, which you can watch live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO, read on for more from our pre-match interview with Lewtas…

On a superb team display at Old Trafford…

It was. We spoke after the Blackburn game when we had missed a lot of chances and there were parts of that game that we wanted to put right. We knew there were certain parts of our game we wanted to be better at and I thought our level of performance was excellent. It’s always a big game when Liverpool play Manchester United, there were quite a few people there as well and we were excellent.

On Kaide Gordon’s sparkling display that night, including a brilliant individual goal…

Kaide was excellent and it’s great to see him enjoying his football after being out for so long. We were able to identify where we were strong and we have been able to show our individual qualities in games, and Kaide in that little pocket was a threat. We wanted to go to Old Trafford and attack them and we obviously had Dannsy, Kaide, Lewis Koumas and Trent Kone-Doherty. We wanted to be brave, play on the front foot and really get at them. We started Kaide in a different, central role at Old Trafford and it paid off.

On the return to action of Stefan Bajcetic, who has been training and getting up to speed with the U21s…

It was brilliant to see him back. That is part of the U21s role and in Stefan’s case with him coming back from injury, we have got that relationship with the first team, we know how they play. I thought it was really interesting because Stefan came on with half an hour to go and you could see his enthusiasm.

He was desperate to play and I thought he was excellent, to be fair. I think he added an extra dimension to our game when he and Isaac Mabaya came on. It’s great to have him back so let’s just take our time, get him ready and see where it all goes.

On the mature displays at centre-back of Carter Pinnington, who only turned 17 in February…

Carter has been really good. He is a first-year scholar and he has played for us all season at U21 level. He has been really good, there’s no question of that. Carter and Amara Nallo are both first-years and they have a really good partnership.

We’ve been able to add Rhys Williams in recent weeks as well and he has been brilliant. Rhys has passed on his experience and helped these lads, really good on the pitch and really good off the pitch too with the boys. Carter has been really assured, trained really well and taken his opportunity. I thought it was a real mature performance from him and he didn’t look like a first-year scholar at Old Trafford, I will say that. He knows he’s got to keep working hard and there’s lots more development to come.

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On tonight’s trip to Sunderland…

It’s an exciting time of the year now with two league games to go and then the new format with the end-of-season play-offs. For us, we want to just continue in the manner of which we are playing. We can keep our rhythm and we have got a belief that if we can play to our potential, results will take care of themselves. The real focus for us in training is improving, getting better and really looking after our performance, and I think Old Trafford was a really good example of that.

There’s been other games this season I have been really pleased with and shown how competitive we can be. We want to keep the standards as high as we can, keep pushing and then let’s see.

Sunderland are a really good team and we know we are in for a really tough test. They play really nice football and have got a nice way about them so we know in this league if you are not at it you are not going to win, so the reality is we know we need to be the best version of ourselves.



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