Jermaine Pennant Lays Into Rafa Benitez And Claims Steven Gerrard Was ‘Player-Manager’ At Liverpool – SPORTbible

Jermaine Pennant has laid into new Everton boss Rafa Benitez, claiming that Steven Gerrard was basically a player-manager during his time as Liverpool.

Pennant spent three seasons at Anfield under Benitez and played in the Champions League final in his first campaign at the club.

He made 81 appearances in total for the Reds but did not have a productive relationship with Benitez, who Pennant feels was lacking when it came to man-management and communicating off the pitch.

Image: PA
Image: PA

The well-travelled winger also did not rate Benitez’s abilities in turning games around at half-time and insists that Gerrard was carrying out some of his duties.

“Look, it’s different for every player, different players will react differently with Rafa,” Pennant said in an appearance on talkSPORT.

“But in my eyes he wasn’t a great man-manager. His skills in that department were lacking.

“Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have also made this publicly known as well, that they felt it was difficult.

“I felt it was difficult to approach him, have a conversation and maybe talk about certain situations on and off the pitch.

“He wouldn’t come up to you, he wouldn’t grab you by the side and have a chat about whatever you need to discuss. He kind of left it to Gerrard.

“Especially to big games, at half-time if things weren’t going very well, it wouldn’t be him pointing fingers and shouting instructions and telling you what needs to be done to win this game.

“It would have been Steven coming in giving you an effing and blinding.

“Playing back then, I wouldn’t want to annoy Gerrard first, and then my manager. Steven was the player-manager. I think every player will take it differently with him.”

Vastly experienced, Benitez has won trophies with Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli in his coaching career.

Image: PA
Image: PA

He was controversially appointed as Everton’s new manager following Carlo Ancelotti’s departure, with Toffees fans not best pleased with the move given his strong ties to the other half of Merseyside.

And Pennant is not overly confident in Benitez getting it right at Goodison Park.

The 38-year-old added: “Is he going to light it up at Everton? Is he going to take them to the next level? Personally I don’t think he will. Sorry Everton fans!”

“He’s a legend at Liverpool for that famous game, coming back from 3-0 down in the Champions League, which was Gerrard-driven 100 per cent and I know that.

“After Liverpool you look where he’s been… Newcastle he didn’t really set them alight, he kept them afloat.

“I just feel he’s going to be a little bit stagnant at Everton.”

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