Sunday 22 October 2017

Steven Gerrard poised to accept Liverpool Academy coaching role

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

Chris Bascombe

Steven Gerrard is set to join Liverpool's academy coaching staff having confirmed the end of his illustrious playing career.

Having formally announced his retirement, the former Liverpool and England captain is now understood to be close to accepting an opportunity to work within his old club’s youth ranks.

Gerrard is continuing his Uefa ‘A’ licence with the assistance of Liverpool’s staff. His decision to stop playing was taken as he considered a variety of offers and the lure of rejoining his boyhood team is expected to be too much to resist.

Shortly after Gerrard’s statement, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reaffirmed the club’s desire to reunite with one of their greatest servants.

The will has been there to find a role for Gerrard in some capacity since the day he left Anfield. Talks have been ongoing in an effort to define exactly what form it will take – although the 36 year-old has been a regular visitor to the club’s Academy where the process of inspiring the next generation of Liverpool players is already underway.

His decision to call time on his playing career signals his intention to start down an alternative path towards management.

“In the future I definitely have dreams and aspirations of having a go at management or assisting the manager and being back involved in the dressing room but I've got many, many years to do that,” said Gerrard in an interview on BT Sport, where he is working as a pundit.

“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be.”

Klopp has always been open to the possibility of Gerrard beginning his coaching career at Liverpool, although it will be under the guidance of Academy Director Alex Inglethorpe and Gerrard’s mentor Steve Heighway where he will get the immediate insight into a future as a coach.

“The door is always open for him. From our side if he wants to make a rich career after his (playing) career we want to help him,” said Klopp. “It is clear that one day in the future there will be something to announce.”

Klopp did issue some words of caution, however, fearing the inevitable scrutiny on Gerrard when he starts life as a coach can be a hindrance more than help.

The Liverpool manager noted the frenzy as fans and media await Gerrard’s next move – inevitable with such a high-profile player.

“Obviously no-one can wait for the moment. If you want to help the legends, leave them alone,” said Klopp.

“Maybe you can help make more England managers in England in the future if they can start working at the beginning and not in the middle or the end.

“In my first few years (coaching) at Mainz if I was training naked no-one would have seen it – I didn’t do that actually. When people accept you will make mistakes it helps.

“We had no-one around and could fight for a little bit without public interest, especially in Mainz. In Manchester it is the same with Giggs. ‘Where will he go next?’ If you want these guys on the bench let them work and don’t handle them as the players they were before. That is a little advice from a very average football player.

“You are not the only country with the problem. From our 1990 World Champions there are not a lot of managers.

“Being a good footballer is not all you need to be a good manager, but it helps.

“The best thing was we could learn everything from doing things right and wrong. You have your first game, make the wrong decision, then you develop and it’s about collecting points, then to stay in the league, then to win the league or whatever. It was not that every day everyone wanted to know ‘how are you?’”

Gerrard’s retirement as a player prompted a series of tributes from legendary figures, and even Barcelona’s official Twitter account joined the applause.

In total, Gerrard played 710 times for Liverpool, scoring 186 goals. He won every major trophy aside from the Premier League title he coveted so much. He won the FA Cup twice, League Cup three times, the UEFA Cup and, most famously, the Champions League in 2005.

He also won 114 England caps, captaining his country under both Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson.

“Over the last couple of years I've felt myself slowing down a little bit,” said Gerrard. “I basically can't deliver what I used to be able to deliver and that becomes a little bit frustrating as time goes on.

“I've listened to people over the years. Important people in the game who I trust and have a lot of respect for, have said to me: 'Always go with a tiny bit left, never overstay your welcome and play on too long where it becomes embarrassing'. I can feel that's not too far away, so now's the right time.”

Irish Independent

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