Steven Gerrard has revealed why he won’t manage one of his bitterest rivals.
The Liverpool legend admits he was “shocked” by Rafa Benitez’s controversial decision to accept the job of Everton manager, which earned him cult status as a Cope idol.
Disappointed Toffees fans made it clear they did not want their club’s former Anfield boss in charge, after which Benitez’s appointment seemed doomed from the start.
And Gerrard, who faces hostile reception when he returns to Goodison Park as Aston Villa manager on Saturday, admits it is one of the rare occasions when he agrees to Merseyside’s blue side.
He said: “Jobs can go right or wrong for any number of reasons, it’s none of my business.
“But the biggest shock and surprise for me was Rafa took the job in the first place.
“It would never enter my mind to manage an opponent against whom I have competed for more than two decades. It makes no sense.
“Rivalries happen for a reason and from my point of view, everyone has the right to make their own decisions. “But for me it doesn’t enter my head.”
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Gerrard played for six years at Anfield under Benitez, famously winning the 2005 Champions League together after a thrilling penalty shootout win over AC Milan.
However, Everton sacked the unpopular Spaniard less than seven months later and Duncan Ferguson will be in caretaker charge when they host Villa.
Gerrard is still scratching his head as to why such an experienced and respected manager would step into the lion’s den at a club where most domestic fans didn’t want him.
He continued: “It goes without saying that he is in that class of top-level, world-class managers, I think he has proved that throughout his career.
“The legacy that he had and the connection he had with Liverpool and what he gave at Liverpool – to take the job at Everton – I didn’t expect it.
“What happened at Everton can happen at any club if the fit doesn’t work or some of the things behind the scenes don’t work for you.
“It’s not about being destined to fail, it shouldn’t even enter your head in the first place.”
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