Former Wanderers midfielder Gary O’Neil has formally begun his coaching career with Liverpool’s Under-23s.

The 37-year-old will act as assistant to development squad boss Barry Lewtas at Anfield.

The Whites’ Player of the Year in the Championship in 2018-19, O’Neil has been in semi-retirement since seeing a possible return to the University of Bolton Stadium fall through last summer.

Now however he can focus on the next stage of his career as he helps develop talent in the academy of the Premier League champions.

"I'm really excited. I've been desperate to get going,” the former Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and West Ham man told Liverpool’s website.

"It's been going on for a little while and obviously with the break and the Academy having to take an even longer break than the first team, I've had to wait a little while, but now it's finally come around and I'm really excited and can't wait to get going.

"Barry is great. He has got a wealth of experience of working with the boys.

“Obviously he's come through a lot of the age groups with the lads as well, so he knows them very well.

"That will be handy because there's two ways of looking at it: I'm getting to see them with a fresh set of eyes, which can be useful as well, but Barry offers a wealth of experience and obviously I'm new into coaching.

"I think as a team, me and Barry will work very well and there's some fantastic players to work with.

“For me to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of young players at such an early part of my coaching career, I feel very privileged."

O'Neil impressed as Wanderers slipped into League One in 2019 and returned when out of contract during the following pre-season.

But a minor injury saw him miss the final part of preparations for the 2019-20 season meaning he spent the last campaign without a club having at one point been recommended for a coaching role with the Whites by departing boss Phil Parkinson.

He made 31 appearances for Bolton in all competitions, scoring three goals.