Belfast Telegraph

Jamie Carragher quick to criticise Liverpool's Steven Gerrard stance

By Robert Jones

Jamie Carragher thinks Liverpool did not do enough to prevent Steven Gerrard's "surprise" exit from Anfield.

Gerrard announced yesterday that his 17-year spell at Liverpool will come to an end in the summer when his contract expires.

The 34-year-old is expected to see out the rest of his playing career in the United States and he then has ambitions of returning to the Merseyside club in some capacity.

Carragher admits Gerrard's best playing days are behind him, but feels the club should have made every effort to keep their captain because of his experience.

The Anfield club offered Gerrard a new contract, but Carragher, who played alongside the midfielder in the Liverpool first team for 15 years, thinks they should have pulled out all the stops to keep him on Merseyside.

"From the club's point of view, I am surprised," the former Liverpool captain said.

"It was Stevie's decision, but could the club have maybe done a little bit more? Maybe spoken about a coaching role in the future to try to entice him to stay?

"You are not losing Steven Gerrard of 24 or 25 years of age. He's not the same player at 34. No player is at that age, but I just think to lose that experience at the club, which he can pass on to the youngsters at the Academy and players in the first team now...

"I just look at that and think from a club's point of view and a supporter's point of view I would have liked to have seen him stay in some capacity."

Gerard Houllier has little doubt Gerrard will one day become Liverpool manager, but Carragher thinks the former England captain will not be offered the position in the future unless the club are certain he will do a good job.

"He's got the name and the profile to do it," the ex-Liverpool defender said.

"If Steven Gerrard wanted to be a manager and was up to the job then of course you would love to see him in that dugout because of what he represents for the club.

"But Liverpool Football Club shouldn't be about giving people jobs just because of what they have done as players."

Graeme Souness achieved something Gerrard failed to do during his playing time at Liverpool - win the league title.

In fact, he did it five times, and also won the European Cup on three occasions. The Scot failed to repeat that success during a three-year spell as manager though and he thinks Gerrard may not necessarily go into the role.

"It's not just Steven, but I think players of his level might not have the desire to go into management simply because it's riddled with insecurity," Souness said.

"It's a very, very hard job to do and I'm not sure if he wants the aggravation of management."

Opinion may be split on Gerrard's future, but there was almost universal acceptance that the midfielder deserves to be regarded as one of the club's finest players.

Gerrard may have failed to win the league, but he played a huge part in Liverpool's dramatic Champions League final victory against AC Milan in 2005 and against West Ham in the FA Cup final 12 months later.

Kirkby-born Phil Thompson believes that Kenny Dalglish, with whom he played during the 1970s and 1980s, should be regarded as the only better player to have worn the famous red Liverpool shirt.

"Steven is the last of a dying breed for my football club. That will be a massive hole to fill," the former Liverpool defender and assistant manager said.

"He hasn't won the Premier League but he is the next best to Kenny Dalglish."

Liverpool's current squad showered praise on Gerrard.

Daniel Sturridge said: "He will go down in history as one of the best midfielders in the game. He's just unbelievable every day, a great leader and the perfect example for every young player in today's game.''

Belfast Telegraph


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