Ex-Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing could become the latest academy graduate to rejoin a former club at the tail end of his career after similar moves from the likes of Manchester United
Former Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing could be in line to rejoin his old club as an overage player for the Reds’ under-23 side.
The 33-year-old came through the Reds’ academy as a youngster, making his senior debut for the club under Rafa Benitez in 2008. After spending the last two years with Tranmere Rovers, the veteran is reportedly close to returning to where it all began more than a decade ago.
Other Premier League clubs have begun adding veterans to their squad in player-coach roles, with Paul McShane returning to boyhood club Manchester United in such a role last season. And Spearing, a free agent after the expiry of his Tranmere deal, could follow suit.
According to the Telegraph, Liverpool are “close” to adding Spearing to their ranks ahead of the new season. The report claims the midfielder would occupy a dual role which would see him coach players in the academy’s younger age groups.
Spearing tweeted about starting his UEFA B License coaching course back in 2018, when he was still on the books of Blackpool, “Coach Spearing? Maybe One Day !!” he wrote at the time.
During his first spell with Liverpool, Spearing made 55 appearances in all competitions. His most recent appearance for the club came in August 2012, and he has since had permanent stints with Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool and Tranmere Rovers.
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Manchester United’s move for McShane came after Brighton & Hove Albion’s recruitment of Andrew Crofts as an overage player in 2019. Crofts, who now coaches the Seagulls’ under-23 side, spent two years as a player-coach after joining the club for a third time.
McShane spent just one season as a player-coach with United, moving into his coaching role after announcing his retirement this year. “It’s been a great year and great experience but now it’s time to fully focus on the next stage of my career, which will be in coaching,” the former Republic of Ireland international told manutd.com.
“It’s amazing how things work out. It’s a great way to end my career, to come back here and help the future generation with their careers. It was perfect, to be honest with you, when this role came about, and I’m grateful to the people who made it happen.I think it’s a great way to end my playing days.
As Spearing prepares to potentially take up a similar role at Anfield, his tasks are expected to include preparing academy talents for the demands of first team football.
Jurgen Klopp gave minutes to a number of young talents last season, mostly in cup competitions but also on occasion in the Premier League, where the likes of Kaide Gordon and Tyler Morton made their debuts in the competition.