Steven Gerrard says managing Everton is ‘never a possibility’ for him and has discussed the challenge facing Rafael Benitez at Goodison Park.
Gerrard was a surprise name linked with the position following Carlo Ancelotti’s departure for Real Madrid, with the former Liverpool captain named amongst the potential candidates following his success at Rangers.
Everton have instead opted for another manager with Liverpool connections, appointing Rafael Benitez as Ancelotti’s successor despite the Spaniard having spent six seasons on the opposite side of the Merseyside divide.
Gerrard – who won the Champions League and FA Cup as a player under Benitez at Anfield – has now given his verdict on the 61-year-old taking charge at Goodison Park and admits he was surprised to see his own name linked with the role, insisting taking charge of the Toffees is ‘never a possibility’ given his loyalty to Liverpool.
“Rafa wasn’t born in the city, he’s not a red through-and-through and he never played against Everton for 20 years and competed against them, so I think it’s a very different situation [to mine],” Gerrard told ESPN.
“Rafa is his own man and will make his own professional decisions, so there’s no surprise that he wanted to get back in the Premier League at a big club and have the opportunity to compete against all the top teams in the league, so I wasn’t very shocked and surprised at all in all honesty.
“I was very shocked and surprised that my name was linked to the job. I don’t know where it came from, whether it was paper talk or if there was any truth in it, I’m not sure.
“[Managing Everton] is never a possibility as far as I’m concerned.”
Gerrard will face former Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti in pre-season as Rangers take on Real Madrid, with the 41-year-old full of praise for the Italian who he described as ‘one of the best managers in the world’.
The Rangers boss says it will be a pleasure to welcome Ancelotti to Ibrox and says he will be hoping to tap into the knowledge of the three-time Champions League winner.
“I must admit, it was a surprise [when Carlo left Everton], but I’m not complaining,” Gerrard said. “He was the manager at my big rivals and was doing a superb job – he’s one of the best managers in the world he has been for some time.
“I’ve experienced playing against him and it will be an absolute pleasure to share a touchline with him and to try and learn and tap into his knowledge if I get the opportunity because he is someone I have looked up to for a long time.
“I have watched a lot of footage of him as a player as well and what he has given to this sport is incredible. He’s a winner as a player and a manager, so it will be a pleasure to have him at Ibrox.”
Gerrard admitted he was flattered and humbled at Ancelotti’s revelation that he tried to sign the midfielder from Liverpool whilst manager of AC Milan.
“Liverpool never brought that to me, so they must have kept that a secret,” he said. “I did actually see the interview that [Ancelotti] did on that and it was very flattering and very humbling for sure.
“I was very happy at Liverpool. There was no way any team in the world would have got me away from there at that time, going into the peak years of my career from a personal point of view and I was really happy and content to try to be successful at Liverpool but when a name like Carlo Ancelotti or AC Milan talk about wanting you as a player, it is certainly very flattering.”