The Big Interview: Jamie Carragher On England Regret, Liverpool And Gary Neville

The Liverpool legend sat down with The Sportsman to discuss MNF and more...
19:00, 08 Apr 2021

The Sportsman were lucky enough to sit down for a lengthy chat with former England international, Liverpool legend and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, who gave us his views on some of the hot topics in football at the moment. Here’s the best bits, but you can watch the full interview featuring a quick-fire Q and A, Liverpool & England chat, and a dig at Gary Neville - down below. 

On who is the best Premier League striker ever…

"No, number is not Alan Shearer - number one is Thierry Henry. Thierry Henry is the best player to have ever played in the Premier League so when I see this debate, that is not even a debate. Thierry Henry is the best striker to ever play in the Premier League and it is not even a debate."

On Steven Gerrard...

“I’d love to see him as Liverpool manager one day, I think everyone at the club would love that. But we’d all want that when Stevie was fully-equipped and fully ready because we’d want him to be successful, obviously. 

“So, that’s not to say he shouldn’t be the next manager but I think management is all about timing and if Jurgen Klopp was leaving tomorrow and Stevie’s won the league, it would just feel like a natural progression. Now, Jurgen Klopp in two years time, maybe Celtic have come back at Rangers, and they didn’t win the league and then, even though Stevie is still the same manager, or probably an even better manager in two years time with more experience, it would be like ‘Yeah, but Celtic won the league didn’t they’ that’s just the way we think in football.”

Read more of Carragher on Gerrard here.

CarragherGerrardtrainingjpg

On becoming a manager...

“I think he [Neville] has put everyone off! What Neville has done, he has put clubs off pundits! That is what he has done! But no, I’ve never thought twice about it since I joined Sky. I thought a lot about it towards the end of my career, but not since I’ve joined Sky. No."

“I think I’ve made that decision and once you make that decision it is very hard [to switch], as Gary showed. I think he will hold his hands up himself, you are going into something that you haven’t got the experience for because we’re gaining experience in TV. Other people are learning on the job and doing youth jobs and eventually get that big job that Gary got, which was a huge job, Valencia is a huge club, and he possibly hadn’t put the work in beforehand. Not because he is lazy, because he had chosen a different path in terms of TV, and that is what I’ve done so I wouldn’t. If I got offered a job tomorrow to manage a club, I wouldn’t go near it because I wouldn’t be ready for it. I wouldn’t be good enough.”

On the game he wished he had played in...

"The Chelsea game (2014) when Liverpool you know lost the league if you like and the reason I say that, not because I think I wanted to be there as a defender to stop Demba Ba scoring after obviously Stevie lost the ball. It is not that. I always look at the second half of that game and I've been in that position so often at Anfield where you need a goal basically. I think I could have brought something to that game, not in terms of scoring or creating a goal but I think my experience of those situations could have helped. 

"Kept talking to players, because, people always look at that game and look at the big incidents but I think the most disappointing thing in that game was Liverpool's second half performance. At half-time they were losing 1-0, they only needed to draw the game really, and they were attacking the Kop. Chelsea's team was really weak, Jose had made lots of changes, and it was a time not to panic. I just felt Liverpool in the second half became very anxious, and that's where I felt I could have helped on the pitch in that game. Just speaking to people, relaxing people, even with ten minutes to go it is a long time in football. Certainly attacking the Kop, just keep making passes. What Liverpool did in that game was they kept shooting from silly positions and just snatching at things and it just, that was the biggest disappointment for me in that game - I'd have loved to have been on the pitch in there, almost managing the game or managing the team. Not being this great defender, I was 35, I certainly wasn't at my best. But I think I could have helped and brought something in that second half. 

"I think we all became too emotional. I think we wanted it too much, even the crowd - obviously Stevie wanted to make up for it, Luis Suarez was the same. It wasn't Liverpool how they had played that season. The panic was setting in that this holy grail was slipping through their hands. That is just one game that springs to mind that I think, I'd love to have been on the pitch to try and help and I think I could have brought something in that situation."

Gerrard_Slip

On England’s Under 21s...

“You actually look at the job of the under 21s, I almost think it would be perfect for someone like Frank Lampard. I think he has just had a new-born baby as well and it may be the perfect job for him I think.”

"I think if you were a young player you would be absolutely over the moon if Frank Lampard was the manager and that may suit Frank right now, I don’t know.  He may want to get right back into the thrust of things but coming out of Chelsea, it is still a high profile job, you’d be coaching and training really top players, young players and it is not every day. So maybe if he has got things in his life he wants to do he can get on with that as well, so I think he’d be a brilliant fit.”

On England Regret...

"My big regret is that England is the only team in my life that I never dominated or I never established myself in. Even from going when I first kicked a ball at five years of age from playing for the school, the county, playing for a local amateur team. I was always the best player, and I got the stage at Liverpool and I was vice-captain and seen as one of the top players in my prime there. And England is the only team I never as I said, established myself fully in. That is my one regret really. Now, don't get me wrong, I think the players who did establish themselves were better centre-backs than me in terms of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, they had the edge on me, I'm not complaining about that. But it is the one thing I look back on and I just think, I've got to that final stage with England and just couldn't really make myself that player who went on to win 70, 80 or 100 caps like some of those players I've mentioned."

On Gareth Southgate...

“I think he's done a brilliant job, I really do. I don't think anyone expected the results that we have had. I think criticism for his selection or tactics comes with managing England, I think right now some of those are a little bit unfair.

“I think people are seeing the attacking talent we've got in this country and are saying 'play them all'. You can't play them all. Some of the teams I've seen players picked, whether it is journalists or ex-players and it is just ridiculous. It is embarrassing actually, we've got some great players but you can't play them all. 

On England at Euro 2020...

“If Gareth [Southgate] can box clever and maybe make us finish second, that may make it a lot easier. I think if we finish second in the group I think we will get to the final. I think if we finish top of the group we could be going home quite early.”


 

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