Over-ambitious and early calls suggesting Steven Gerrard might be a Jurgen Klopp successor as a Liverpool manager should be ignored, says Jamie Carragher.
The new Aston Villa manager, appointed on Thursday, has taken on his first Premier League job after being in charge of – and winning the title with – Rangers north of the border.
Some have claimed it’s a natural progression for a head coach who will go on to take charge of his former club from his playing days, with Gerrard a Champions League-winning captain with the Reds who spent almost his entire career at Anfield.
That won’t give him any kind of headstart or easy route into Klopp’s seat when the German eventually departs though, according to Carragher, who makes the point that Gerrard himself will only want to be hired if and when he is deserving of the role.
Indeed, the 41-year-old himself has previously noted that he wasn’t keen on taking jobs just on account of his name, which is why he opted to first head into youth coaching before taking his first senior role, as clubs came calling before his playing days were officially over.
But until that time comes around when he has achieved the type of success which made Klopp, a title-winning manager in Germany who had also taken Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final before he moved to England, the right choice for Liverpool, any talk of a reunion with his old fans should be out of the question says his former team-mate.
“Steven Gerrard will only ever want to become Liverpool manager on merit, and the Liverpool supporters will only want him to become Liverpool manager on those terms, not because of some kind of romantic homecoming,” Carragher wrote in his Telegraph column.
“When Klopp goes, Liverpool will only employ the best man for the job, as they did when making their last appointment in 2015.
“Gerrard’s connection is an advantage if the day comes when he is a serious candidate. Until then, it is a subject overplayed and should not be on the agenda right now.”
Explaining further the motivations of Gerrard in taking up the reigns at Villa Park, Carragher pointed out there’s a huge job to be undertaken and a lot of responsibility which comes with the role at hand.
“His sole professional focus will be on the task at hand – in this case turning Villa into a Premier League force again. His presence around the club, the aura he has, and the demands he places upon himself and expects of others could be transformative.
“Every ambitious manager wants the chance to take on Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and now Antonio Conte.
“Besides that, Villa are the biggest club in the Midlands and one of the biggest clubs in the UK, still seen as one of those sleeping giants who – with the right coach galvanising the fanbase – have the potential to regularly challenge the top six.”
Gerrard now faces a week of coaching his new team during the international break, before leading them out in his first game in charge at home to Brighton on 20 November.
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