Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers would make a great England manager
Liverpool are looking limp under Brendan Rodgers. Jurgen Klopp is the media’s favourite to take over should Rodgers get the boot. In the Times Matt Dickinson asks readers to pause and remember that Rodgers is no fool. A talented manager, which Rodgers certainly is, does not become rubbish.
There may be fun to be had with @DeludedBrendan and the mocking tweets but, beyond the David Brent gags, the Rodgers who emerges from Gerrard’s book deserves to be taken seriously; a sharp tactician, a strong communicator, an astute improver of players.
Sometimes he can get a little carried away and, as Gerrard notes, he is ambitious perhaps to the point of ruthlessness. But there emerges a portrait of an upwardly mobile manager who, if unwanted by Liverpool at the end of this season, would be very welcome in an England tracksuit as the successor to Roy Hodgson.
Rodgers for England? You hear it and it makes sense.
…Rodgers is the one with top-level coaching and managerial experience, a record of improving young players, especially English ones. Or, as he once said in one of those quotes that seem to polarise opinion: “My life’s work has been trying to show that British players can play.”
Dickinson quotes from Gerrard’s book:
Read Gerrard recount in compelling detail about when he went to see Rodgers because he felt off-form and could not fathom the problem. The speed with which his manager came back with detailed analysis about a lack of head movement, and how it was affecting the tempo of the captain’s passing game, is striking. There are plenty of stories from Gerrard of Rodgers’ ability to motivate as well as innovate. The book is littered with lines like “the training sessions were among the best I had ever experienced while his man-management was excellent, generous and imaginative”; “it needed a bold appointment from the owners — and I think they got it right with Brendan”; “Brendan came across as a nice man, and a good person, from the start”; “a very human man-manager”.
Of course, there is some blunt criticism, too; a dubious signing or two and, most notably, a critique of that fateful, gung-ho approach against Chelsea with the title at stake fuelled by “an overconfidence in Brendan’s team talks” and not recognising the need to temper his boldness.
Jason Burt has also talked of Rodgers being the ideal England candidate:
The FA needs direction, maybe even an evangelical approach. It intends to keep Hodgson in place until the completion of the 2016 European Championship when his contract expires, when he will be close to celebrating his 69th birthday. He is likely to go then, so the clock is ticking as regards his successor. The answer seems clear: it should be Brendan Rodgers…
Here is a man who clearly has “ that vision thing”. Not just in an identifiable and entertaining modern style of play – you could put his Liverpool team in any colour shirt and they would be recognisably Liverpool – but in developing players as people. He has both a “holistic” approach, to borrow Manchester City’s phrase, and a much deeper sense of pastoral care and social responsibility.
It does not matter that Rodgers comes from Northern Ireland. The FA should read his words and call him, to discover if he would want to be involved in finding “that vision thing”. Hodgson should welcome his input. It would not undermine him.
And then there is Steven Gerrard, who says:
“The way he [Rodgers] plays would suit England. He would improve the possession football you need at international level. His man management is brilliant. At tournaments, in the heat, it is absolute torture and we need to keep the ball better. If you want someone who would get the team playing and the players would enjoy working with, it would be Brendan.”
Rodgers for England. It makes sense.