Date: 1st April 2015 at 6:25pm
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Damien Johnson came through the Blackburn youth set up before going onto play for the likes of Birmingham, Plymouth, Huddersfield and finally Fleetwood before retiring – he now back where is all began in a coaching role with the academy.

The Official Website has confirmed the 50-times capped former Northern Ireland international is back at Ewood Park looking to play a part in bringing the next generation through as he’s taken up a coaching role with the U14 side.

Since retiring at the end of last season 36-year-old Johnson revealed that he’s been working on his coaching badges and ‘getting some experience’ with various clubs and jumped at the chance to come back after well over a decade away, not that it seems that long ago!

‘I’m really ecstatic about the opportunity to come back. I’ve been away a while, but it feels like just yesterday that I was here and I can’t tell you how happy and pleased I am to be back.

‘I’ve been back in Lancashire for 18 months and I’ve just been desperate for an opportunity to come into Rovers and thankfully an opportunity has come up and Eric has been kind enough to offer me the role, which is brilliant.’

Johnson, who left for Birmingham in 2002 having made 80 first-team appearances for us, spoke very highly of Eric Kinder and knows how important a figure he is to the club as is the youth system and the set up is to Blackburn so is keen to play his part in continuing the legacy.

‘Eric’s a Blackburn man and has really got the club’s interests at heart. I know he was doing the Under-21s and I was really pleased that he got the Academy job, because it’s obviously something close to my heart, because I came through here.

‘It was always a legacy of Jack Walker’s that he had a youth system and the club was producing their own players and I know Eric’s passionate about that, so I’m excited about the opportunity to get involved.

Having come through this system himself he knows exactly what it’s all about and looks forwards to passing on the ‘education’ and ‘values’ he learned coming through onto others.

‘I’ve been through the doors here and learnt all my education and values here, and it’s stood me in good stead for my whole career, so I’m always thankful for that. Blackburn is my club, so I’m absolutely delighted with the opportunity that Eric has given me to come back and contribute.

‘I lived in the lodges and I ate my dinner in here for years, so it really is like a second home here for me.’

Welcome back Damien, you’ve got plenty to pass onto others, who will benefit from this.

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