Jamie Carragher has urged Aston Villa to stick by Steven Gerrard amid mounting pressure on the legendary Liverpool midfielder.
Gerrard took over the West Midlands club last November and ended the 21/22 season in 14th position in the Premier League. The target this campaign was to push up the table and aim for European football, highlighted by the impressive permanent signings of Boubacar Kamara, Diego Carlos and Philippe Coutinho in particular.
Things have not gone to plan so far, though, with Villa currently 19th in the division after winning one and losing four of their opening five matches. Sections of the club’s fanbase are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the state of play and are now asking questions of their manager.
Scott Parker recently became the first manager to lose his job in the Premier League, and there are genuine concerns Gerrard could be next in line for an early dismissal. Despite rising tensions at Villa, Carragher has backed his former team-mate to turn things around provided he is handed the opportunity to do so.
“Now Gerrard is enduring his first wobble in management, a question is being asked more frequently: was it too soon for Gerrard to move from Scotland to Villa? Obviously, I would say no. It felt like the right move for all parties last October even if the coach and board are fighting to keep their long-term plans on track,” he wrote in his column for the Telegraph.
Carragher continued: “As a coach, Gerrard will be first to admit he is a work in progress. Including his time at Liverpool’s academy, he has only been in management for five years.
“Villa took a calculated gamble when making the appointment, investing in a coach whose peak is years ahead. The risk when giving so much responsibility to one so inexperienced is they have to learn on the job.
That means mistakes are inevitable and the club has to be prepared to tolerate bumps in the road in the hope and expectation that short-term pain will bring long-term gain.
“What Gerrard is going through now is one of the reasons many top players are put off management. Yes, the rewards are exceptionally good but your reputation is always on the line, your qualities constantly analysed and re-analysed to the point where the characteristics once referenced to praise you become ammunition for critics.”