Steven Gerrard reportedly on a list of potential managers for Ipswich Town
PUBLISHED: 10:39 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:51 15 April 2018
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Steven Gerrard is on a list of people being considered for next Ipswich Town manager, according to The Sun.
The England and Liverpool legend, 37, hung up his boots in 2016, started coaching at Liverpool’s academy the following year and has been in charge of their Under-18s side this season.
Academy coach Bryan Klug is in caretaker charge of the Blues until the end of the Championship season, with owner Marcus Evans having made it clear he will take his time in finding the right man to replace Mick McCarthy in the Portman Road hot-seat.
Klug said last week: “Marcus is going through a process and I have said I will cover for as long as he needs. Hopefully we can all help him to get the right management team in here that is the right fit for the club.”
Managing director Ian Milne says the search is ‘well underway’ and that Evans will take advice from his ‘professional football friends’. One of Evans’ closest confidants is understood to be Roy Hodgson, a man Gerrard played under for both club and country.
It’s understood Town have been subtly sounding out dozens of potential candidates via third parties for some time now and that Evans is remaining completely open-minded as to what direction to go down next. It’s very much a long list at present and no route can be discounted.
Gerrard was linked with the MK Dons job last year but didn’t feel he was ready to make the leap into first-team management at the time.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo back in December, he said: “I am enjoying this role and I am only five months in. I don’t think I have to rush into over-thinking what is next. Short term it is definitely here. I am happy here. I certainly want to finish this season out and then I will sit down with the people at the end of the season and see what is next for me.
“The next couple of years will definitely prepare me wherever I end up. I know that the further that I go up there is more scrutiny, more attention, more opinions, more criticism, more praise. I get all that.
“For me it was important to get a taste of it and experience it away from the cameras and away from the spotlight before you go into the madness.
“I want to be a coach, I want to improve and I want to coach at the top level. But I suppose certain experiences in your journey will decide how long you want to stay in it.
“I suppose how successful you are will make those decisions for you. For example, I could get a job, a first-team job in this country, and get sacked after four or five games. It might put me off for the rest of my life.
“I might take my first job and win a league and that might set me up for my next journey of 10 to 20 years. I can’t predict the future. All I can try and do is make myself as prepared as I can to do the best I can in whatever roles I take further down the line.”
He added: “I’m not sitting here thinking I’ve done it for five months so I’m ready and bring the job interviews on. Having said that, in six months or a year or in two years there might be an opportunity there where I think I’m a lot more ready than I was four or five months ago - like the MK Dons job, which came up just after I had finished playing and it was like a smack in the face. There was no way I was ready to lead a club or a team. Am I closer to that now? Yeah, of course I am.
“But I am happy where I am right now. Things are good, I’m learning loads, I’ve got top people around me and I’m in a top environment to carry on learning. The timing isn’t right to change that. But it will change at some point. I will need a different challenge, a challenge which is closer to where I want to be.”
Gerrard is one of the new breed of potential managers emerging from the mega money Premier League era.
The likes of him, Frank Lampard and Gary Neville could retire comfortably and enjoy a bit of punditry, but it’s clear that the same incredible drive and dedication which took them to the very top as players still burns brightly.
Picking the right jobs to launch their managerial careers will be crucial. They will need to the time, space and patience of owner and fans to make mistakes and learn along the way. There aren’t many clubs around that tick those boxes. Ipswich do though. All anyone really wants in Suffolk is for an exciting project to get behind following two years of stagnation.
Town have been down the route of a big name before of course with a certain Roy Keane and that all ended in tears.
There was a sense that Keane struggled to work with players that could not do what he and his peers used to be able to do on the field. And it was all stick and no carrot with him.
Gerrard seems different. He seems more considered. There’s light and shade. He seems ready to park his playing achievements and truly earn his stripes as a young coach.
His stature as captain fantastic would earn the instant respect of the dressing room. He would have superb contacts in the game and could attract some top young loanees. You assume his football philosophy would match the brave, bold, all-action approach he took to playing the game. It would certainly capture the imagination and shake supporters out of their current state of apathy.
And yet his very presence would draw the national media spotlight on Suffolk once more. Do the Blues need that circus in town again? Or is a quieter revolution required at this juncture?
These are the big questions facing Mr Evans right now. It’s right that he takes his time and does as much due diligence as possible. This is a huge decision.