Former Liverpool favourite Xabi Alonso has discussed the time in which he decided he wanted to become a football manager when he hung up his boots.
The 40-year-old is currently in charge of Real Sociedad B in the Spanish second division and although they’re currently six points adrift from safety, he’s enjoying influencing play from the dugout rather than from the centre of the park.
He also highlighted that he’s happy to progress slowly up the managerial ladder rather than jumping at a so-called ‘bigger’ opportunity if it was to come his way.
“There wasn’t a moment, it was just during my career [when I decided to become a manager],” Alonso told UEFA’s official sponsor, FedEx, (via the Liverpool Echo).
“I liked playing, but I like trying to understand why things were happening in football. I knew that at one stage, I was going to try it [management], but you need to try it and you need to like it.
“I love it [being a manager] and I am enjoying it. I’m taking my steps; I am not in a rush to reach the highest level. I’m taking things slowly and am getting to know myself better, as well as gaining more experience to get better [as a manager]. We will see what will happen in the future.”
The Spaniard was also keen to highlight those that he played under and learned so much from during his glittering career.
Alonso named a former Liverpool player and manager as two of the most influential figures on his career so far, but was keen to highlight that he’s attempting to implement his own style.
“I luckily have had great managers through my career, starting with [John] Toshack in [Real] Sociedad, Rafa [Benitez] in Liverpool, [Manuel] Pellegrini, [Carlo] Ancelotti, Pep [Guardiola] and Mo [Jose Mourinho). From each one, I have learned, and I have lived within good and bad moments. I have tried to understand why they take their decisions for me to start building my own vision as a coach or as a manager.
“But later, taking pieces from each one [manager], you need to build your own personality, your own style. It is not about copy and paste, it’s about being authentic and being your own self. That’s the best way you are going to be able to transmit or give ideas to the players. And for sure I have had great managers, and I have been a privilege for that.”
It’s extremely common to see ex-players step foot into the managerial scene.
Our former No. 14 joins Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney as some of the ex-Premier League stars to test themselves in the managerial hot seat.
It’s great to see Xabi is enjoying himself in his homeland – it’d be great to see him keep his side in the second division to help boost his managerial CV.
We wish him all the best.