Time to start grooming Jamie Carragher for the job

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Even though I’m a massive Rafael Benitez fan, I’ve steadfastly given the ‘sack Hodgson’ brigade a wide berth. He wasn’t my first choice by a country mile, but as soon as he was installed, fans like me respected the decision and have wholeheartedly backed the fellow.

With Liverpool’s dismal form placing Hodgson under immense pressure, and subsequent departure by mutual consent before the FA Cup showdown at Old Trafford many Liverpool fans are already drafting up their list of who they’d like to see installed in the Anfield dug-out come the end of the season.

Dalglish, Hiddink, Rijkaard, O Neill, Allardyce, the Butcher, Baker, and Candle Stick Maker. The list is long and pretty much exhaustive, not surprising considering we are talking about the most prestigious role at what is still the most successful club in Britain.

Liverpool have been in turmoil for many years. And whilst the club has struggled to adhere to a game plan on or off the pitch, their rivals have hit winning streaks, both financially and in terms of honours.

Even with John Henry at the helm Liverpool FC lags woefully behind the financial muscle of the Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. Bad judgement, wasted millions, and a clutch of sorry signings haven’t helped an iota, whilst constant wrangling between the executives and boot room has tragically swept this famous institution into the perfect storm. To avoid total meltdown, it is now imperative that an old sea dog regains control and steers his Red crew to calmer seas.

But is a Hollywood name the answer? Guus Hiddink is under contract. Mourinho will not come without the ironclad assurance of £100 million worth of lolly, and will fans complain about O’Neill’s style of play – Hulk at the back, Hulk at the front, and Steve Guppy on the left. King Kenny holds the reins till the end of the season, and this may be a chance to groom from within.

Enter Jamie Carragher, who has achieved iconic status since replacing Rob Jones as a fresh faced 19-year-old sub against the Boro. He’d instantly bring identity back into the dressing room. Everyone from big name signings to the youth team boys would know what Liverpool means to the fans.

With Carra it’s very much what it says on the tin. It is important that his energy and natural winning aggression is channeled positively, and what he would need is training on man management and developing the ability to use varying techniques and approaches to bring the very best out of the players.

It’s intriguing how Mourinho creates a siege mentality within his players with his “they're all out to get us” tactics. Coupled with his unity and genuine closeness to his charges, the approach has repeatedly worked a treat. Carra, as well as any other aspiring manager should take a leaf here.

Roy is not around to oversee the next stage of the Liverpool FC rebuilding programme so why not pair Carra with Kenny. Give them two years to build and bring about change. In the whirlwind existence of planet Premiership a top manager needs more than a snarl and a big heart, (Roy Keane anyone?) but something say’s the Bootle lad is capable of inspiring bringing about change. Something say’s the Bootle lad will one day swap the shirt for a blazer and embark on a new legacy.

Carragher, ala Pepe Guardiola, would be a worthy successor to Dalglish who could be moved upstairs, where his experience, knowledge and contacts across Europe could prove invaluable for the club.

After all, we all dream of a team of Carraghers.

Until then, write this season off and start planning for the next campaign – one which the Reds could start off playing catch up to Manchester United.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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