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By Ras WadadaFORMER Liverpool FC Academy student and current professional player, English-born Neil Danns Jr, has been appointed U-13’s and U-14’s coach of the academy where he began his football nurturing at the tender age of 12.The soon-to-be 38-year-old Golden Jaguars player, who has over 500 professional games in England to his credit and 17 International appearances for Guyana, brings to the academy a wealth of experience across all levels of the `Beautiful Game’.Speaking exclusively to Chronicle Sport via WhatsApp recently, the Liverpool born-and-bred midfielder said that his duties will be part-time and he is looking forward to the opportunity to coach.“Coaching is something I have always been interested in. I got my coaching badges 3 years ago, so that when the time comes like now I am ready.“This opportunity at Liverpool has to do mainly with the fact that I came through the youth system there until I was 16 years and also my son plays for the academy so I am always there watching my son at training and communicating with the coaches who thought it would be best for me to join the coaching staff in order to pass on my knowledge to the younger generation.“It is indeed a great opportunity for me since it does not interfere with my playing and I am really excited I must say,” Danns declared.“What makes this opportunity more special is that some of the coaches who helped me hone my talents there from 12 years old are still there and coaching my son. It is unbelievable to hear them calling my son the same name they used to call me; Yorkey or Dwightee in reference to Caribbean legend Dwight Yorke whom I admired so much as a youth. It’s amazing and it makes me proud.”Danns, who currently holds a UEFA `B’ Licence certificate is aiming to secure his `A’ Licence next summer and feels this is the ideal start to his coaching career. At the moment he has no immediate plans to quit playing although he admits in a couple of years’ time he will hang up his boots and go full-time into coaching.“This involvement at the academy will give me good experience and prepare me for full-time coaching. It is important to pass on whatever knowledge you have, so whenever I am in Guyana I sure will be sharing what I have learnt with coaches and players,” Danns assured.The youthful-looking golden jaguar explained that he will give four sessions of 2 hours each week and when he has an off-weekend from playing he will overlook the games of the youths at the academy.Danns Jr got reconnected to his roots in Guyana, thanks to Guyana’s former captain Christopher Nurse and football agent Fizul Khan, who invited him to join the Golden Jaguars and without hesitation he responded in the affirmative.“My connection to Guyana is through my grandfather, Edmond Danns, who was born and raised in Linden as I found out. I am thankful also to one of my cousins in Guyana, Carwyn Holland, who gave me so much knowledge about my roots and where my grandfather was from.“He made me visit Linden and I was able to see where my roots are on my father’s side and man, it was amazing. Unfortunately my grandfather died while my dad was young so I never had the chance to meet him.It was so fulfilling to finally get to Guyana and see exactly where my DNA was from and ever since I first came to Guyana I fell in love with the country and the people. It has given me some of the most amazing life experiences that I could have ever wished for; so to represent my grandfather and carry his name on my back when I am playing for Guyana is something very special.“It was such a special feeling, especially at the Gold Cup and there is no better way I could have honoured him, having never met him,” recalled the man who scored all 3 goals for Guyana at their debut appearance of the Gold Cup last year.Danns stated that it would be a dream come true, to one day coach the Golden Jaguars, “Maybe in the distant future I will be able one day to take up the role as head coach – another dream of mine.“To be able to take up such a role would be something very, special as football continues to bless me with so much. I would love for that day when I will be able to lead out Guyana as head coach and more importantly pass on my experiences.“At the moment I think coach Maximo is doing an absolutely fantastic job with the National team and it’s a pleasure to be part of his plans and what he is building”.The midfielder, whose professional career began in 2000, at the age of 18, has played over 500 games in England at various divisions from Premiership to League One and scored over 100 goals at central midfield, but his greatest moment was scoring for Guyana at the Gold Cup.“Scoring the penalty against Panama remains my greatest moment as a golden jaguar since it was Guyana’s first goal at a major International tournament. It is a moment I will cherish forever and it will live with me forever. I still watch the footage and every time I watch it I am filled with so much pride since I know most Guyanese watching the game live and on TV felt just as proud”.“Everything I do, I do to the best of my abilities, whether it’s playing football or raising my children. Everyone has got talent. It doesn’t matter if you are blessed with more talent, or less talent than anyone. The only thing that matters is that you push yourself into being the best that you can be.“When I am finished playing and go into coaching full-time I will have the same mentality and give it my all and if that is enough to get me into a job at the Championship or Premier level I would be grateful,” proclaimed the scorer of nine goals from 17 appearances as a Golden Jaguars player.