Sunday 17 December 2017

David Ginola: Rodgers won't be afraid to drop Steven Gerrard

David Ginola, right, and David James were in Dublin today to launch Setanta Sports coverage of the forthcoming Barclays Premier League season
David Ginola, right, and David James were in Dublin today to launch Setanta Sports coverage of the forthcoming Barclays Premier League season

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will not hesitate to drop Steven Gerrard if his form merits it next season, according to David Ginola.

The former Newcastle and Tottenham playmaker claims Gerrard is clever enough to know when he needs to rest his ageing legs with Liverpool ready to launch an attack for domestic and European honours later this month.

Thirty-four-year-old Gerrard has retired from international football and with the arrival of the likes of Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Lazar Marković, Rodgers will look to rotate his squad as much as possible.

And Ginola believes Rodgers will have no issue axing Gerrard, who, he feels, will gladly put the team before himself.

“I don’t think he is afraid to drop anyone because his job is on the line, simple as that,” said Ginola at the launch of Setanta Sports’ coverage for the forthcoming Premier League season in Dublin today.

“The quality of a manager is to have a discussion with someone like Steven Gerrard who has been a legend at the club. Sit down in the office or restaurant and get the feeling of the player.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard appears dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard appears dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield

“When you are a certain age and you have been playing so long, you know yourself. When you love the club and you want to give the best for the club, sometimes you can say this week I am feeling a bit weak so you could watch the game from the bench or in the stands.

“Steven Gerrard knows he is more at the end of his career than the beginning. He is not going to drop him, there will be a discussion with Brendan Rodgers.”

Asked if Gerrard will be up front with his manager about how he feels, Ginola insisted the Liverpool skipper is clever and loyal enough to sit it out when he needs to.

“He will be. You will have players who don’t give a damn about it and want to play but Steven Gerrard is different. He has spent all his life at the club and he wants what’s best for the club.

“You saw him last year he was so devastated when he slipped against Chelsea. It was terrible, I really felt for him. This type of guy will tell the boss, I am pretty sure about that. It’s about being clever on both sides.”

Following the departure of Gerrard’s former team-mate Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Ginola fears that the lure of La Liga is too much for the Premier League to compete with.

Suarez will join fellow former Premier League superstars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in Spain’s top flight this season while Columbia’s star of the World Cup James Rodriguez is another player who made a big-money move La Liga this summer, despite interest from Premier League clubs.

“Seeing Rodriguez going to Real Madrid, that wasn’t a surprise. Young player, young talent, he had a fantastic World Cup. He deserved player of the tournament. Playing in Monaco is nice, fantastic but it’s not for a young man who is 20 years old. I am sure he was playing there many times and perhaps thinking how difficult it is to play in Monaco because there are so few fans, maximum 14,000.

“You want to play for the best clubs, and I am not saying that Liverpool is not the best club, but different offers, it’s not what these type of players deserve. These type of players want and deserve a career. James, Bale, Suarez now. You have the Spanish language as well, very important, more South American way of life so it’s not surprising if you see Suarez going to Real.”

Mauricio Pochettino will take the reins at Spurs this season and despite his fine work at Southampton last season, Ginola insists that it won’t be that easy to transfer that success to White Hart Lane.

“For managers it’s about winning, it’s about bringing back trophies. It’s not the same (as managing Southampton).You can be a good manager at a club and you can find it difficult at another one. So it is about what he is going to bring to the dressing room and for players to understand his football philosophy and his approach of the game,” said Ginola.

“We know he has a good approach to the game. He had some great players and they all left Southampton, most of them. For Pochettino the job is absolutely right. For Spurs fans getting into the top four will probably be the main target.

“14-18 months is the average time a manager gets at a club. You don’t have time in football, that’s the problem. Some years ago a manager had two or three years to bring something to the club. These days it’s about a season.

“This is a problem. You can’t change managers every six months or every year because you have to start all over again and you need stability to have success.

“Alex Ferguson was good with Manchester United because the club was stable all the way. David Moyes’ misfortune was mainly because he changed everything when at Man United.

For Ginola, there are more questions than answers right now going into a new season, but one thing that he reckons is guaranteed is entertainment.

“Will Drogba at Chelsea be the same type of player he was when Chelsea won the Champions League? It will be a very interesting season to see if Louis van Gaal can bring back Man United, to see if Pochettino is successful with Spurs,

“It will be interesting to see who will be challenging right from the off, if Liverpool can carry on the same way they did last season, entertaining each week. Some of the football they played was very, very entertaining. Can Arsenal challenge for anything this season, can they win the league this season. Many many questions. It’s almost impossible to answer all these question now.

“This is what Premier League is about, entertaining. In France they are amazed by the amount of entertainment in the Premier League. I remember watching Liverpool and Arsenal and four goals in 20 minutes.

“I was at the game and was saying ‘what’s going on here’. You are not playing against a League Two or a League Three team. You are playing against Arsenal. See Liverpool playing Crystal Palace, scored three goals in 12 or 15 minutes right at the end of the game. Before that the game was over. This is what football is all about in England. It’s about being surprises, always.”

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