Steven Gerrard, whom Roy Hodgson must decide whether to make his England captain, observed yesterday that the new national manager "took the Liverpool job at the wrong time" and said that his opinion of him had not changed because of his ill-fated 191-day reign at Anfield.
Hodgson's time at the club, which ended in January last year, coincided with a messy takeover, during which Liverpool were dragged through the courts, and a lesser transfer budget than the Fenway Sports Group have since introduced. Looking back yesterday, Gerrard seemed to acknowledge that. "Roy is a good manager," he said. "My opinion of him hasn't changed before he got the job, while he had the job or after he got the Liverpool job. He was good tactically, very thorough and a great guy. He was very loyal and honest to the players and that's all you can ask for.
"We'll have to wait and see how he does. Like any other England manager, Roy will be judged on results. I am certainly looking forward to working with him. I think it's a good appointment."
Gerrard was the source of rancour between Hodgson and the Football Association 18 months ago when Fabio Capello's decision to play him for more than an hour – in contravention of what Liverpool felt was a prior agreement to the contrary – resulted in the midfielder sustaining a torn right hamstring in a friendly against France. It kept him out for six weeks, during which time the manager lost his grip on the Anfield job.
Jamie Carragher, a shrewd and honest assessor of England managers in the past, observed yesterday that the Liverpool experience had been "difficult" for Hodgson. "I'm delighted for him," the defender said. "There was talk of other candidates, but the FA took the time and have made the decision. It's important we get behind the manager and support him. We want a good and successful England team.
"In the short time I worked with him I got on great with him and respect him. It was difficult what happened at Liverpool for him but it's another chance on a big stage. I'm pleased for him and hope it goes well." Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said of Hodgson: "I've been on the record waxing lyrical about Roy when I got here and I don't want to change that view."
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