Monday 19 March 2018

'Half of Liverpool squad didn't rate Brendan Rodgers'

Aidy Ward blames former Anfield manager for the breakdown of Sterling's relationship with club

Raheem Sterling shakes hands with manager Brendan Rodgers
Raheem Sterling shakes hands with manager Brendan Rodgers

Raheem Sterling's agent Aidy Ward has attacked former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers for his treatment of the player.

Sterling and Ward became hate figures on Merseyside as they attempted to engineer a move away from Anfield in the summer.

Sterling submitted a transfer request and gave an interview to the BBC in which he said that he was rejecting the club's offer of a £100,000-a-week contract as he was unhappy at not being offered a new deal the previous year.

Rodgers refrained from criticising the player in public, but did have some sharp words of rebuke for his representative Ward, saying his behaviour was “being led by the representative”.

Ward was critical of Rodgers at the time, saying that there had been a breakdown of trust between the manager and the player.

And he has renewed his attack today in an interview with The Daily Mail, claiming that 50 per cent of Anfield's squad would say that Rodgers "is not a good manager".

He said: "I became the bad guy, that's how I was portrayed. It started from the PR behind Liverpool. There is no issue with the fans there, they don't know the full story, and there are lots of good people at Liverpool.

"I had no problem with (chief executive) Ian Ayre for example. I have no issue with anyone but Rodgers: he had a massive job with massive funds.

"How did he do? Good coach, but as a manager I didn't like certain things about how he dealt with Raheem.

"Fifty per cent of the players would probably tell you Brendan is not a good manager, but he is a good coach.'"

Ward also claimed that the only major club he did not express an interest in Sterling was Barcelona, because they are under transfer embargo, and that his preference had been for the player to stay at Anfield rather than moving to Manchester City, only for the club to make that impossible.

He added: "Raheem could've stayed, he should be at Liverpool.

"I think for me it was like he was being told to be a good boy and sign a contract. In December I spoke to Liverpool and said we'll sign a contract if there is a buy-out clause - those clauses are now common practice. They said no to that.

"Then there was an underhandedness, there were sly remarks. In press conferences, Brendan told everyone Raheem would sign - why do that? I knew, Brendan knew and Liverpool knew there was an issue. Right now he probably should be a Liverpool player, but he's not and he's in a great place at City."

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