Jamie Carragher has revealed that he spoke to Steven Gerrard at the start of the week and the former Liverpool captain ‘knew what was coming’.
The 42-year-old was relieved of his duties as Aston Villa boss late on Thursday night shortly after he watched his team fall to a 3-0 defeat against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Throughout the game and then at the final whistle as our former No. 8 headed towards the tunnel, the travelling Villa supporters could be heard singing ‘get out of our club’ to Gerrard in what would prove to be his final game in charge.
“I spoke to Steven Gerrard on Monday and he was realistic about his chances of remaining Aston Villa manager,” Carragher said in his column for The Telegraph.
“At the most he hoped he had two games to save himself. The performance against Fulham, and the reaction of Villa’s fans, made his position untenable.
“Stevie is a realist. You saw that in his demeanour post-match and heard it in his comments. He knew what was coming. He will be hurt and disappointed, but when the dust settles he will be the first to acknowledge that he understands why the decision was taken.”
Gerrard took over from Dean Smith just under 12 months ago and won just 13 of his 40 games in charge of the Villa Park outfit.
He made the bold decision to strip Tyrone Mings of the captaincy and also made the loan signing of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona permanent during his time at the club but the results simply weren’t good enough for the former England international.
Carragher, who won every major trophy except the Premier League during his time at Liverpool, admitted that it was ‘tough’ to watch his friend on the receiving end of so much abuse recently.
Despite his time at Villa not quite going to plan, our former No. 23 believes that Gerrard leaves the Midlands ‘as a wiser and better manager’.
“As his friend, the scenes at the end of the game at Craven Cottage on Thursday were a tough watch,” Carragher continued. “Gerrard is a giant of English, European and world football, and seeing someone who has achieved so much in the game – and still has so much more to give – being ridiculed in such a way is uncomfortable.
“The question now is whether the events last night have put fire in his belly to try again, proving all that criticism wrong, or whether some of those flames of ambition have been extinguished. Only Stevie can answer that after a period of reflection.
“Where could he go next? There are practical reasons why so many elite players of our generation opt out of a coaching career. Most of us are not prepared to step away from the glamour of elite football, deterred from management because working your way up from Championship clubs is not so attractive.
“Financially, we do not need that kind of daily pressure. A role will only be tempting if it promises a route to the Premier League. I cannot see Gerrard at a mid-table Championship club, for example, but taking such a position is the best means of rebuilding his coaching reputation should he wish to try again.
“The shame in that is that no matter what is said or written you can guarantee that Gerrard leaves Villa as a wiser and better manager than the one who took the job.”
It’s no secret that Gerrard’s long term aim is to have the managerial job at Anfield one day, but his lack of success at Villa Park may have seriously impacted his hopes of landing the job.
He’s proved that he can win silverware as a manager already with the fantastic job he done with Glasgow Rangers but the Premier League is a different beast and harsh lessons have been learnt.
Jurgen Klopp revealed earlier today that he has spoke to Gerrard since his sacking and tipped the Scouser to react well to the setback and we certainly hope that another club places some trust in the Liverpool legend once he’s ready.
We wish him all the best for the future.