Last season, Jay Spearing played 35 games for Tranmere in League Two. This season, the 33-year-old is back at Liverpool, the club he grew up at and played 55 games for early in his career before moving on to spend time at Bolton, Blackpool, and Tranmere.
It’s not a first team role Spearing will take on, though. Instead, it will be player-coach duties with the reserves, and the expectation is that the coach role will quickly become the more prominent side of the equation as Spearing looks to a future on the bench.
“Three days into the job, I’d say this is the best decision I’ve ever made,” Spearing told The Athletic as he settles into his new role under academy director Alex Inglethorpe, who sought Spearing as an academy graduate who isn’t quite ready to retire.
“When Steven [Gerrard] and Marc [Bridge-Wilkinson] joined in I felt there was a level of coaching that the boys got from within that could never be replicated when someone coaches just from the outside,” Inglethorpe said of his thought process.
“Coaching isn’t just about setting up a session and managing it. There’s an awful lot of learning that can take place where you’re in the right environment with the right people. Every single session Jay’s role will be very much coaching from within.”
Spearing isn’t expected to play every week for the reserves. Instead, he will be focused first on the coaching side of things and only play when youth players are needed in the senior squad, resulting in a gap in the reserve team that needs short-term cover.
“I’m concentrating on the next couple of years and being a sponge, learning everything I need to know about how the academy want things done,” Spearing added. “If any of the boys need advice on anything, I’m an open book for them to have a chat.
“It’s my job to guide them and help them progress to the first team. My aim is to ultimately become a first-team coach but that’s for way down the line [and] I’m delighted that Alex and the club believed in me and I’m determined to repay that faith.”