Jamie Carragher does not believe former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard will use Aston Villa merely as a “stepping stone” to the top job at Anfield.
But Carragher also knows Gerrard would love to become Liverpool manager one day if he first made a success of his new role with Villa.
Gerrard was confirmed as Villa’s latest head coach on Thursday, replacing Dean Smith at the helm at Villa Park after a five-game losing streak.
Smith led his boyhood club back into the Premier League and reached an EFL Cup final, winning 39.6 per cent of his 139 games in charge in all competitions.
Gerrard has had a rather different task at Rangers in the meantime, finally cutting short Celtic’s run of consecutive Scottish Premiership titles at nine by triumphing in 2020-21.
Rangers were unbeaten in the league in that campaign, which included a career-best nine-game winning streak in all competitions for Gerrard between September and November 2020.
At one of Scotland’s two premier clubs, the former Liverpool captain had an outstanding 64.8 per cent win rate across 193 games going back to 2018.
This success has prompted talk of a return to Merseyside, where Jurgen Klopp is under contract until 2024 but Gerrard is seen as a viable long-term successor.
Yet Carragher, a prominent Liverpool star alongside Gerrard, does not believe his old friend is simply waiting for that job to open up.
“I think it’s disrespectful to Stevie and I think it’s disrespectful to Aston Villa that this comes up,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“I know this is the question for everyone, but I can assure you that Aston Villa as a football club are no stepping stone for anyone. They’ve won a European Cup, the biggest club in the midlands, one of the biggest clubs in the UK.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) November 11, 2021
“I’m sure everyone is well aware that one day, if it worked perfectly, Stevie would like to manage Liverpool, but I can guarantee you Stevie would only want to manage Liverpool if he merited it, and also the club’s supporters would think that and the football club themselves.
“Liverpool are not in a position to give a job in the future to someone just because they had a great playing career.
“If Stevie does amazingly well at Aston Villa and is qualifying for Europe, maybe could add a Carabao Cup, maybe that would put him in the equation then for Liverpool.
“But Liverpool, along with Manchester United, along with Man City, Chelsea, they will be attracting the best managers in the world. That’s obviously a challenge for Stevie to make himself one of the best managers in European or world football and then, I’m sure, he’ll have a great shout.
“But if he doesn’t get there, I don’t think Stevie would be wanting to take a job if he felt that maybe someone else could be better at Liverpool, and I don’t think the club would either.
“For Stevie, I think it’s just focusing on Aston Villa and don’t worry about anything else.”
Whether Gerrard should use his Villa opportunity to put himself in position for a Liverpool move or not, Carragher does not believe the 41-year-old would have been considered had the Reds been looking for a new boss now.
Gerrard won 26 of 53 European games at Rangers, including 12 of 30 in the Europa League proper, but the lack of domestic competition makes Villa a step up, let alone title-chasing Liverpool.
“It’s his first job in the Premier League, and when you go into the Premier League for the first time, to get a job as big as Villa is fantastic for Stevie, it really is,” Carragher said.
“It gives him a fantastic opportunity to push for European places.
“No manager is ever going to get one of the real plum jobs just on the back of what Stevie’s done at Rangers. In the Premier League now, it’s a league where every manager in the world wants to manage.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!