Jamie Carragher believes Steven Gerrard will be best suited to the Liverpool job when he is at the peak of his managerial powers.
Gerrard, a Liverpool legend, is enjoying his time in Scotland at the moment. In fact the 40-year-old has seen his Rangers team march 23 points clear of rivals Celtic as they close on their first SPFL title for 10 years.
The former England midfielder has turned around the Ibrox club’s fortunes in the two-and-half-years he has been at the helm. After a spell working with the youth teams at Liverpool, his managerial job with Rangers was his first. And he is proving that a lack of coaching experience is not holding back his career.
Carragher, in his latest Daily Telegraph column, has been reflecting on Frank Lampard’s sacking at Chelsea and says he admires the likes of Lampard, Gerrard and Wayne Rooney who have not taken the easy route after their playing careers have ended.
“I admire those like Lampard, Steven Gerrard and now Wayne Rooney who are so determined to succeed as coaches. Whatever ideals they had about how the game should be played going into their first job. They will absorb many new perspectives.
“They may see football much differently in five or six years time as they refine their methods.”
Carragher believes that Gerrard will eventually become Liverpool manager, whether that be in direct succession to Jurgen Klopp or not. But Carragher says his old pal will have to be at the top of his game when he does get the nod from Anfield.
“Everyone expects Gerrard to become Liverpool manager one day. The best time for that to happen is when he is at his most confident at the peak of his coaching capacity, prepared for most challenges a manager encounters, not as a novice,” said Carragher.
Carra points at Neville
“There is a danger of a knowledge drain if a generation of players opts against coaching, instead dedicating themselves to a media career. It is just as likely those who try management are so bruised by their first experience they will leave the game forever.”
The Sky Sports pundit also pointed to his Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville and claimed his time at Valencia damaged him.
“Gary Neville was unprepared for the scale of the task managing Valencia. Thierry Henry joined Monaco prematurely. Andrea Pirlo is struggling at Juventus,” said Carragher.
“All were offered coveted positions they could not refuse. Understandably, they backed themselves to learn on the job, but coaching inexperience means you need time that the owners of big clubs will never grant when trouble strikes, no matter what they promise when making these appointments.
“Look at Gary Neville. His spell at Valencia means he is unlikely to have another go at coaching.”
Carragher also believes players like Lampard face a “dilemma” when big coaching jobs arise.
“When Lampard lost his job this week, it saddened more than surprised me.
“We are in an era where top players are accepting some of football’s top coaching jobs when they are not ready.
“Frank Lampard’s stint at Chelsea is the latest example. There are plenty more.
“This is the dilemma players of Frank’s status and reputation must confront when deciding whether to pursue a management career. The power of a name is a strength and a weakness for those elite players of my generation with aspirations to coach at the clubs where they made their name.
“The advantage is the fast-tracking into such a position, and the sense of romance when they go back. Owners are seduced by a legend’s reputation, ignoring candidates who may have worked their way up from the lower divisions, or academy football.
But Carragher has pointed to the impeccable credentials of incoming Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.
“Lampard’s replacement, Thomas Tuchel, started his coaching journey when his career was cut short by injury aged 25. The hunger we had as youngsters to become star players by our mid-20s, coaches like Tuchel have in adulthood to become world class managers by their mid-40s,” said Carragher.
“They are prepared to begin at the bottom, putting in the long shifts at academies, working every weekend, absorbing the experience that makes them more technically qualified for the demands of management and dealing with people. What we were prepared to do as young footballers, they are prepared to do as coaches.
“Tuchel took his first coaching job aged 27. Chelsea is his fifth management post. He is only five years older than Frank, but as a manager he has a lifetime more experience.
“This is a man who has earned his chance, which makes some of the negativity I have read after one game in charge pretty embarrassing. His credentials cannot be doubted.
“When comparing the CV of a recently retired legend and a coach like Tuchel, that is where the players I played alongside or against who want to be managers are disadvantaged. We could not think about beginning a coaching journey in our 20s.”