Steven Gerrard thrilled to be back where it all began at Liverpool

Club legend returns as full-time youth academy coach

Steven Gerrard lifts the Champions League trophy after Liverpool’s victory over AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005. Photograph:  Phil Noble/PA Wire

Steven Gerrard lifts the Champions League trophy after Liverpool’s victory over AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005. Photograph: Phil Noble/PA Wire

 

Steven Gerrard will return to Liverpool next month as a full-time youth academy coach, the Anfield club has confirmed.

The former Liverpool and England captain has been in discussions over a role with his boyhood team since retiring as a player in November. He has accepted a wide-ranging position within the Liverpool academy at Kirkby, focusing on the professional development phase of the club’s young players, and will start work under academy director Alex Inglethorpe from February.

Gerrard has been working with Liverpool’s academy players while gaining his coaching qualifications and the new role is designed to benefit all parties, with youngsters learning from a club icon while he develops as a coach. The 36-year-old graduated from the Liverpool academy to make 710 appearances for the club over a glittering 17-year career before departing for LA Galaxy in 2015.

“It feels like completing the circle; returning to the place where professionally it all began,” said Gerrard. “However, this isn’t a decision based on emotion – it’s about what I can offer and contribute to Liverpool.

“I don’t think I need to explain to people what this football club means to me, but when I knew coming back was a serious option I wanted to make sure it was a substantive role and a role in which I could really help the organisation.

“Meeting with Alex Inglethorpe, seeing the work they are currently doing and want to do in the future at Kirkby, it just felt right. The right option at the right time, for all parties involved.

“This gives me a great opportunity to learn and develop as a coach while at the same time offering my knowledge, ideas and experience to the young players at an important period of their development.”

Liverpool’s academy system has paid dividends under Jürgen Klopp, who has given first-team opportunities to players such as Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold plus a senior debut to Harry Wilson at Plymouth Argyle this week.

Inglethorpe believes the academy will benefit from Gerrard’s input across a broad age range.

The academy director said: “If I was to pick one individual who embodies the characteristics and values we are looking to instil into our organisation at Kirkby it would be Steven Gerrard. For him to have been so enthusiastic about being part of what we are looking to do is simply great news for everyone connected to the club.

“I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that Steven has had a host of great options, in terms of what to do next in his career, including playing, management and coaching. But it’s been evident from the first meeting with him that his heart and head belongs here.

“He has shown great humility in making it clear from the outset he wants a role where he can contribute to Liverpool; it’s typical of him that his priority has been defining the role so it helps the club, ahead of himself. He has expressed a desire to learn from us and manage a young team. The benefits to us will be immense. This is a substantial role and one which makes the Academy and the club in general stronger and better.”

Gerrard declined a managerial offer from MK Dons after returning to England from MLS and has been in regular contact with Klopp since the German coach arrived at Anfield.

(Guardian service)

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