DURING their years coming through the ranks on opposite sides of Stanley Park, Danny Cadamarteri and Steven Gerrard did battle in many a mini Merseyside derby.

On Friday they took their place on the touchline as Cadamarteri’s Burnley Under-18s took on Gerrard’s Liverpool youngsters.

It was only a friendly, but the former rivals on opposite ends of the divide in Liverpool are passing on what they learnt during careers that started at breakneck speed before heading off in different directions, to the generation of tomorrow.

In an era when many ex-pros, comfortable financially thanks to the timing of their careers coinciding with the Premier League’s financial boom, are spurning the training pitch for the TV studio, Cadamarteri and Gerrard are two former top flight stars happy to get their hands dirty in development football.

While the game is now welcoming to coaches who have had no significant playing experience, former Everton starlet Cadamarteri, who took over the Clarets youth team from Michael Duff this summer, believes the knowledge that former players like himself and Gerrard can pass down can he invaluable.

“I know Steven well. We’re living life on the other side of football now in development, we’re striving to get kids into our respective first teams,” the 37-year-old said.

“There’s a lot of good coaches out there that haven’t played the game as well, but I think it’s really important that ex-footballers and lads who are retiring from the game, if they’ve got that interest and they want to help and they’ve been through the process as a YTS and an Academy graduate, then it’s invaluable experience they can pass on.”

Cadamarteri can pass on his experiences of the game, both good and bad. He was a teenage sensation at Goodison Park, scoring five goals in his first 10 appearances for the Toffees.

But harder times were ahead, and by the time he left Everton in 2002 he had accrued 15 goals in 110 appearances.

Cadamarteri went on to represent 10 other clubs during his career before hanging up his boots in 20014, and having joined Burnley from a similar role at Sheffield Wednesday last year he’s now keen to pass on the messages he’s learnt to the potential stars of the future.

“I’ve had a lot of different scenarios and experiences during the course of my career, lots of positives and loads of negatives as well,” the Cleckheaton-born former forward said.

“I try and use the negatives now for the young lads to draw on as a positive for themselves. The things you don’t do.

“That’s my job now, to guide these players.

“The good thing is I’ve done some things that these kids probably think about doing, I can recognise the little signs now when they might be looking like they’d drift off the rails, although we’re fortunate at Burnley at the moment that we haven’t got anyone like that.

“I think you can try and draw on your experiences to guide the young lads through and I’ll try and do that the best I can.”

Cadamarteri has settled into life at Turf Moor quickly, and the Under-18s have made an impressive start to their first season in the Professional Development League, sitting top of the table.

Burnley were awarded Category 2 status for their Academy this summer, under the Elite Player Performance Plan, which has seen the Under-18s and Duff’s Under-23s move up to a more competitive games programme.

The rise in EPPP status came about following the £10.6million development of the Barnfield Training Centre, and Cadamarteri is impressed with the facilities he’s found and the clear pathway for youngsters striving to make the first team.

“The facilities are amazing. The support structure that the club have put in through the first team’s success over the last few season is great, they’ve spent the money very wisely,” he added.

“The first team training complex houses the Academy structure as well.

“There’s no better environment for young hopeful footballers to apply their trade and strive in the same building as first team players.

“Those kids want to take some of their places, the job is to get into that first team squad and stake a claim for their places.

“So to rub shoulders with the first team and see how they live, how they train, how they prepare and how they recover is a fantastic situation for them to be in.”

Cadamarteri added: “It’s touching distance for some of the boys.

“The best experience from my point of view as an 18s coach is that we have first team staff coming through to our office asking who can go and train with them.

“We’ve had James Clarke, Scott Wilson, Dwight McNeil and Ollie Younger all go and train with the first team, and one or two others have had a little experience of it as well.

“James Clarke is doing really well for us at the moment, he’s a second year scholar and he’s really highly thought of within the club, he’s gone and trained with the first team and performed very, very well.

“He’s rubbing shoulders with the first team and as a defender he’s training up against Chris Wood and Nahki Wells and people like that, which is a fantastic thing for him.”

While the Under-18s have made a bright start on the pitch, Cadamarteri insists it’s about more than results at that level, and he’s equally as happy to see some of his youngsters moving up to be part of Duff’s Under-23 group.

“The good thing about the start is that we’ve adapted to Category 2 football very well so far, it’s been a stretch at times but the lads have competed very well and some of the performances have been rewarded with results,” he said.

“But ultimately we’ve had three or four of the Under-18s consistently playing up with the Under-23s, and the good thing about that is that it shows the lads are making a step up and leaving our group to play in the Under-23s games programme.

“We’ve had Dwight McNeil, Ollie Younger and James Clarke playing up there. It’s been a successful start in relation to development.”

It’s that progression through the ranks that most excites Cadamarteri.

“I love working in coaching and development day to day and it’s great to see the progression, at this level the progression is getting lads into the Under-23s,” he said.

“That excites me. My Saturday now is seeing lads who aren’t in my squad. It sounds like a double negative but the progression for me is we have a weakened team on a Saturday because all our best players are in the 23s.”