DAMIEN Johnson has returned to Blackburn Rovers to take over as the club’s under 14s coach.

The former Northern Ireland international midfielder, 36, came through Rovers’ ranks and made 81 appearances for the club between 1997 and 2002 before making a £100,000 move to Birmingham City.

He played 214 times for Birmingham before joining Plymouth Town, Huddersfield Town on loan, who he helped win promotion to the Championship alongside current Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes, and then Fleetwood Town, his final club.

Rovers’ new head of academy Eric Kinder said: "When I got this position, there were a couple of vacancies available and I wanted to fill them with people who care passionately about Blackburn Rovers and from my very first meeting with Damien, it showed that this is a club in his heart.

“He might have left a long time ago and pursued his career in the Premiership but he’s had a successful career both at club level and international level and as soon as I found out he’d moved back to the area, with the qualifications he has and the person he is, I’m absolutely delighted that my first staff appointment is Damien Johnson and I think he’ll be a massive boost to everybody here.”