Jayden Danns Player Profile: Liverpool FC

jayden danns celebrates efl cup win with teammates

It is not easy to break into the Liverpool team and it is even more difficult to do it when you’re a youngster coming through the ranks. Playing for the Reds is one of the toughest asks in football, whilst there is an argument that winning over the Anfield crowd is something that only a select few players ever really manage.

It certainly helps if you’re a local lad, which is why many were delighted to see Jayden Danns make the breakthrough into the first-team at a relatively young age, proving that he had the temperament and the ability to give the manager a few headaches in terms of selection when his first-choice players weren’t available.

The 2023-2024 season was an interesting one for Liverpool in sliding doors type way. Had the Reds qualified for the Champions League in the previous campaign, there is little question that players like Danns would’ve received far fewer opportunities to get on the pitch and impress Jürgen Klopp.

In the end, though, the Reds qualified for the Europa League instead whilst also progressing in the League Cup and the FA Cup, meaning that Academy players were given a number of chances to get onto the pitch and show the manager what they could do. Danns was one of the players that did just that, winning both hearts and minds in the process.

Who is Jayden Danns?

Jayden Alexander Danns was born in Liverpool on the 16th of January 2006, meaning that he wasn’t even alive when the Reds won the European Cup in Istanbul eight months earlier. The son of Neil Danns, who was a professional footballer who played for the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Crystal Palace and Leicester City in addition to playing international football for Guyana, Danns joined the Liverpool Academy when he was eight-years-old.

A pupil at Rainhill High School, he won the Year 8 Merseyside Schools Cup in 2019, seeing the school win the cup for the first time in 25 years with a 4-1 win over Bebington Sports College.

Danns was one of the goal scorers in that game, but it is fair to say that greater things were to come as he grew older. It is always darkest before the dawn, as the saying goes, which Danns might have needed to be reminded of when he was diagnosed with Osgood–Schlatter disease whilst playing with the Liverpool Under-16s.

Osgood–Schlatter disease is an inflammation of the patellar ligament that tends to affect adolescents during a series of growth spurts. It is characterised with a painful bump below the knee, with the problem for Danns being that it is better with rest and becomes more painful with activity.

It didn’t hold Danns back too much, however. He made the breakthrough into the Under-18s side at Liverpool when he was just 16-years-old, mixing it with older boys and proving his worth in Red. Having grown from being five foot two inches to six foot in a short space of time, he wasted no time in getting back to it after having missed about eight months of football.

He worked at bulking up, having been ‘leggy and Bambi-like’ during his more formative years. The fact that he was scouted for Liverpool when he was playing futsal meant that Danns has always had the skills, but he began to grow into his body to add the physicality too.

His work with the Under-18s really came to the fore in the 2023-2024 season, scoring in every competitive match that he played for the side between August and December. He scored nine goals in seven games, which was enough to capture the attention of Jürgen Klopp. The manager, who called him ‘Dannsy’, will also have known that he scored four goals in three games during the Under-18s Premier League Cup for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s team.

Obviously there is a huge difference between Under-18s football and the senior squad, but Danns was determined to prove that he has what it takes to make it at Liverpool Football Club.

Making the Grade

The performances of Jayden Danns with the Under-18s earned him a place with the senior squad at the AXA Training Centre, which is all the more impressive when you realise that the player wasn’t included in the squad that flew out to Singapore in pre-season.

Whilst the likes of Bobby Clark, Ben Doak and James McConnell all featured, Danns was still largely unknown to most Liverpool supporters at the time. He wasn’t unknown to the backroom staff, however. The Liverpool coaches knew exactly how good he was, flagging that up to the manager and his backroom team. It was thanks to this that he was included in a Liverpool squad for the first time.

That came in a Premier League game against Luton Town, with the manager feeling as though he had no choice but to name a youthful squad as injuries ravaged his side. Alongside Danns were the likes of James McConnell, Bobby Clark, Trey Nyoni and Kaide Gordon, with Danns becoming the 39th different player named in a Liverpool match day squad.

Having played second fiddle to Jason Koumas for most of his time in the Academy, it will not have escaped Danns’ attention that he made it onto the scoresheet for the Liverpool senior team before Koumas. That being said, the manager name-checked them both after the 5-2 win over Norwich City in the FA Cup.

Klopp said, “Trey and Dannsy are special as well from the U18s, Koumas. There are a lot of really good players coming up still. The academy is in a good moment, I would say, production-wise. It’s wonderful.” Having earned comparisons with Harry Kane thanks to the way in which he leads the line but also likes to drop deep in order to try to influence play, Liverpool fans got their first real taste of his ability when they saw him come on as a sub against Chelsea in the League Cup final, replacing Cody Gakpo after 87 minutes.

It was the 2 goals that he scored against Southampton in the FA Cup that really made people sit up and take notice, however.

The Reds had led against the Saints since the 44th minute when Lewis Koumas gave us the lead, but Southampton were playing well and giving the young team problems. Danns soon put paid to that, latching on to a Harvey Elliott through-ball to lift a delicate chip over the goalkeeper and double Liverpool’s advantage. He then sealed a Player of the Match performance when he showed his striker’s instinct to follow up a shot from Connor Bradley and stick it in the back of the net when the Saints goalkeeper could only parry the initial shot out. It capped off an incredible rise and cemented his name in the minds’ of Liverpool supporters.

International Captain

Whilst it would be untrue to suggest that most Scousers care much about England’s prospects on the international stage, it does seem that it is slightly different for the actual players. There have been numerous Reds who have felt an immense sense of pride playing for England, such as Steven Gerrard and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Jayden Danns might well find himself on that list in the future, having forgone the decision that his father made to play for Guayana and instead played for the Three Lions at youth level. In fact, not only did Danns play for the England Under-18s team, he even captained them.

That came during a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in the U18 Pinatar Super Cup, having already seen England defeat Czechia and draw with Germany at the tournament, which was held in Spain. The victory meant that England ended up as the overall winners, with Danns having had the honour of captaining the side for the 67 minutes that he was on the pitch.

Quite whether he will continue down the same road of being one of the England stars in the future remains to be seen, although the comparisons with Harry Kane certainly suggest that pulling on the jersey of the Three Lions might well be something he does at senior level.

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