Redknapp on Carragher
There is no modern player quite like Jamie Carragher. Go to Anfield when he is playing and listen during those quieter spells of a match and you will hear what I mean: a footballer managing a game on the pitch.
His direction is delivered with an unmistakable Scouse shriek, but the words and their intentions are very clear. Jamie will be pulling people around, commanding and instructing his team-mates.
It is a brilliant idea by the FA to offer to fast-track him into their elite coaching programme and to groom him for the future. If we cannot produce an England manager who is English, we need to look at the system. Sir Trevor Brooking is right about that.
Jamie should be working closely with a senior coach now, a bit like Tim Sherwood at Tottenham with my dad, Harry. Like Jamie, Tim has a knowledge and understanding of the game and Spurs are investing in the future. He could be the next manager of Tottenham and Jamie Carragher could be a future Liverpool or England manager.
You would not have thought it when the skinny local kid began training with the Liverpool first team. He will not like me writing this, but there were better players in his group who looked more worthy, such as Steven Gerrard and David Thompson.
Gerard Houllier loved one v ones in training and the midfielders and forwards used to like being selected to face Jamie. We would run at him, dance past him and then start shouting ole. He would be absolutely steaming, but that meant we would wind him up more. Another day, another session with Jamie on his backside.
That lasted for one season. The following pre-season, he was a different person. It was as if he went away for the summer and promised himself that he would never be humiliated like that again.
Remember, he was an attacking midfielder in the early days at Anfield and had been a striker as a kid, but he soon learned the art of defending. I remember his legs and arms were bigger and he had been studying the art of defending.
Carra is a watcher and would seek out videos of the Milan team with Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi, Europe's defensive masters of their time.
He was rough and ready as a lad and a player, but he came back to training after that summer and started smashing the forwards. He was such a fierce competitor, but he was not physical enough at the start and it drove him crazy, until he began to use his body and his mind to come out on top. The boy became a man that summer.
He tells a story in his richly entertaining autobiography about one team-mate who he heard sniggering behind his back when it was announced by Houllier that Carra had been picked by England for the first time. Jamie then took it upon himself to smash the lad in training and, as he stood over him, he said: 'Who's laughing now?' That is Jamie - ultra competitive and probably the most driven footballer I have ever met.
He was not a fool. Young lads when they come into the first team often sit alone or at a different part of the bus when travelling to away games. But we were always keen to have Jamie sitting with the senior players so we could throw questions at him and listen to him talking about football.
I loved him straight away, because he shared my passion for the game. I was delighted for him when he scored on his debut, playing alongside me in midfield against Aston Villa, in front of the Kop. No player deserved that goal more than him, for what he had achieved in becoming an Evertonian to have made the grade at Liverpool.
Everyone knows that he watches hundreds of matches at all levels and has an opinion on everything. I believe my old Liverpool mate is 100 per cent management material, but I don't know if he wants it.
When my dad made the transition from player to manager, he probably had two options: manage a team or run a pub. It was the same with managers such as Sir Alex Ferguson. The modern player, with the money they have earned, has so many other options.
Gary Neville and David Beckham might consider themselves management material, but do they need the hassle when there are so many commercial opportunities available? I might still try to move into management one day, but I have a fabulous job in the media, which allows me to stay close to the game and work for Sky and the Daily Mail without having grey hairs. Jamie might prefer to do the same.
We know great players do not always make great managers. They become frustrated when their players are unable to play as they did. Roy Keane is a prime example of that. My dad, Sir Alex, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger were not great players. When you walk into a dressing room, players do not care about what you have done. Champions League medals and caps count for nothing. Players just want to know: 'Right, what can you do for me now?'
I have no doubt, Jamie Carragher can help improve other players with his knowledge and understanding. But how will he cope when one of his players does not have the same desire, heart and will to win? Knowing him, he might find that difficult.
He has a cutting sense of humour and the personality to inspire a dressing room. It is a delight to write this article exploring what the future might hold for him. I could not be around him enough when I was at Liverpool and I'm convinced his personality would illuminate any dressing room.
He will probably feel he still has a few good years in him left as a player as he pursues his own holy grail of the Barclays Premier League title. But England and the FA are right to spot his talent. It is a fascinating prospect that he might one day be England manager.
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