Thursday, 11/03/2021 16:54

Steven still needs schooling before coming home

BLUE BOY: Once a red, now a blue. Steven Gerrard may be Rangers manager, but his heart lies elsewhere. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

I’ve always struggled with the notion of school reunions. I’ve never quite understood their point. Classmates who were good friends back then remain good friends. Those I never had much time for, well, I still don’t have much time for them.

I’ve only ever been to one. It was a fairly big deal and held to mark the anniversary of Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in Liverpool where I spent five years of my life between 1984 and 1989.

I went, hung around with the lads I always hung around with, drank few beers and had a general catch-up, and that was that.

There was, however, one noticeable absentee.

A former pupil of the school who was quite good at football, a certain Mr Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard was a fair few years below me and wouldn’t have the faintest idea who I was.

At that time, he was captain of Liverpool so he probably had a decent excuse not to attend the reunion. He did however send a letter, in which he apologised for not being there and wished all those that were there a good night.

Gerrard dismissed the prospect of another reunion this week as well.

After an amazing season at the helm of Rangers FC, he was asked in a television interview about the prospect of going back to his boyhood club to manage.

Liverpool, it’s fair to say, have suffered greatly this season and some have, stupidly in my opinion, questioned whether manager Jurgen Klopp would quit under the pressure.

Gerrard, a true Liverpool supporter at heart, emphatically interrupted the reporter midsentence and declared: “The Liverpool fans don't want me to be the manager of Liverpool Football Club.

“They want Jurgen Klopp to continue to be the Liverpool manager, and I'm totally with all of them.

“We shouldn't talk about this, we have one of the best managers leading our club at the minute. I love him.

"I hope he stays for a few more years. But I've got a job here. I don't think it's helpful to talk about this and I hope Jurgen stays at Liverpool for many years.”

Gerrard has worked wonders at Rangers. The grit, determination and ‘never-say-die’ attitude he displayed in his playing days obviously remain now he is a manager.

His desire to be the best and win at all costs is still very much at the forefront of his mind even though he is orchestrating games from the touchline and not in the middle of the pitch.

Since he became manager three years ago, his first such job since hanging up his boots, he has transformed Rangers and ended Celtic’s nine-year run as top dogs.

His celebrations after winning the league this week were legendary and while Rangers fans must be on cloud nine with their current success, they must be concerned his heart still firmly lies 476 kilometres south in Liverpool.

But I don’t think they have anything really to worry about.

Gerrard’s not daft and he knows better than most he is not ready to be the manager of Liverpool Football Club. Not yet anyway.

Despite a great season, he still has to prove himself, and still has to build on the success of this campaign. In three, four years from now? Yeah, maybe he’ll be ready to head south.

But there are still many lessons for Gerrard to learn before he becomes manager of the team he loves so much. VNS

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