James McCarthy could be ideal replacement for Steven Gerrard - Didi Hamann
Irish international James McCarthy could be the ideal candidate to fill the boots of Steven Gerrard this summer, according to the outgoing Liverpool captain’s former team-mate Dietmar Hamann.
McCarthy has been linked to several Premier League clubs, including both Manchester United and Liverpool, as he enjoys another successful season with fellow Merseysiders Everton.
The 24-year-old was awarded the man-of-the-match after inspiring the Toffees to a comfortable 3-0 win over United last Sunday week.
Now McCarthy is being talked up by another Liverpool legend as the Reds prepare for life at Anfield without Steven Gerrard.
Speaking to independent.ie at a special Carlsberg event in Anfield, Dietmar Hamann said McCarthy has performed “ever so well this season”.
He added that Liverpool will need to find a midfielder who can perform “at the highest level every single week” due to the void that will be left by the absence of Gerrard.
“I’ve always been a big fan of his. I think he’s done ever so well this season. Whether he’s a player Liverpool are interested in him remains but to be seen but in the centre midfield area...Joe Allen, Henderson, there’s a few players there.
"Somebody has to step up and perform at the highest every single week because obviously that’s what will be missing with Steven Gerrard gone,” Hamann said.
Hamann, who now works as an RTE pundit, said players like Steven Gerrard only emerge every “40-50 years”.
Meanwhile Hamann predicted a Champions League finish for Liverpool - but only if Brendan Rodgers’s team can win their next three games, which include a visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The former German international said Manchester United tend to “stutter at the wrong time”, leaving the Reds with a previously unlikely shot at fourth place.
“Now they’ve put themselves back in with a shot and you just have to put as much pressure on it as you can. United seems to stutter at the wrong time and as I said I think if we win the last three games there is every chance we will finish fourth,” Hamann said.
But he warned that the club and its fans could rue the recent league defeat against Hull, which was preceded by the disappointing scoreless draw with Tony Pulis’s West Brom.
Hamann watched Liverpool secure a last gasp victory against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. It was a game which saw Gerrard score the winning goal just minutes after seeing his penalty saved.
Prior to the game at Anfield, a plane was flown overhead carrying the banner: “Rodgers Out - Rafa In”.
Hamann said he doesn’t know whether the plane was organised “by one fan or ten” but that he does not believe it will have affected the Liverpool boss.
“You got to get on with it. It’s part of the job if you manage a big club. Everybody expects success and that’s just the way it is,” he added.
Hamann was one of several Liverpool legends present at Anfield on Sunday as 20 Irish Carlsberg competition winners were given the opportunity to play at the famous stadium.
The fans were given VIP treatment in Liverpool and were greeted by Alan Kennedy, Terry McDermott, John Aldridge, Phil Neal, David Johnson, John Barnes, Ian Callaghan and former Liverpool manager Roy Evans.