Belfast Telegraph

Martinez: Liverpool wanted me before Rodgers

By Robert Jones

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has insisted that Liverpool wanted him as manager before turning their attentions to Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers.

Martinez said he turned down an approach from Liverpool to replace the sacked Kenny Dalglish earlier this summer.

The Spaniard had been strongly tipped to succeed Dalglish before the Reds switched their attention to Swansea boss Rodgers, and now he has claimed that a concrete offer was made by the Anfield club.

Martinez, who turned down the Aston Villa job the previous summer, revealed that his reasons for remaining at the DW Stadium centred around a chat with chairman Dave Whelan.

“We must educate people,” Martinez said.

“In five or six years, we [Wigan] reap the benefits. Maybe I won’t be there then. But this is not why I stayed, when Liverpool made me an offer.”

He added: “I stayed because my chairman is unique.

“This summer, we sat down together. He had thought about the future of the club, I’d done the same.

“He knew that I had spoken with other clubs. But he is so persuasive... I extended my contract for three years.

“He wants to take the club to the next level. I know it will be difficult, but it excites me a lot.'

Martinez's claims do no, however, concur with those of Liverpool co-owner Tom Werner.

In an interview with the BBC last week, Werner claimed that while a number of people were spoken to about the position vacated by Dalglish, only Rodgers was made an offer — one he gleefully accepted. Werner said: “We engaged with a number of very experienced football people whose names have never been mentioned. We ended up focussing only on Brendan Rodgers.

“We never made an offer to any other manager.

“We were extremely impressed with Brendan, with his thoughtfulness and devotion to Liverpool. Brendan was the only candidate to whom we offered the position.”

When asked about an apparent approach to Rafael Benitez, Werner added: “We talked informally to a number of people, some of whom have not been mentioned.”

At the moment, Rodgers will be more concerned about keeping his job than how he got it in the first place.

The Carnlough man has been stung by the savage criticism that followed Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat by West Brom at the Hawthorns — the Anfield club’s worst opening day defeat for 75 years.

Afterwards, Rodgers told the fans that it will take some time to properly rebuild the team but patience is not something associated with the current Liverpool regime, with Dalglish and his predecessor Roy Hodgson getting less than two years between them to impress.

Belfast Telegraph

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