Steven Gerrard’s attitude to calling out players is straightforward.
If he and his own dented ego could survive what Rafa Benitez subjected him to on a daily basis at Liverpool in the pursuit of perfection then no Rangers player should be complaining about the demands he’s placing on them right now.In measured tones in the Ibrox media room, Gerrard gave his most searching and critical dissection of the shortcomings of his Rangers squad last Saturday evening. That calmness was doubtless no reflection of the mood as condemnation came firing out of the manager’s mouth in the dressing room in the minutes immediately after the 0-0 draw against St Johnstone. Steven Gerrard revealed Rafa Benitez’s tough approach got the best out of him at Liverpool Gerrard admitted that he is prepared to criticise his Rangers players to get the best out of them RELATED ARTICLES
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Honesty, of the brutal variety and aired in public, often prompts an outbreak of concern for a manager’s relationship with his dressing room and could turn out to be the quickest way to find a slippery slope leading to the sack.Gerrard can now acknowledge that, when under the wing of Spanish tactician Benitez, the individual castigation was well intentioned and public team chastisement more often than not cutely timed.He admits feeling singled out at the time but the pressure, ultimately, worked a treat.
So he fully expects to coax positive reactions from the modern-day Rangers player by taking a leaf or two out of Benitez’s approach – and won’t be sparing veterans like former England team-mate Jermain Defoe and hosted goautodial his fellow loan signing Steven Davis.When asked which manager’s honesty he admired, Gerrard explained: ‘Rafa Benitez was like that with me on a daily basis.
I probably played the best football of my career under Rafa – I was always searching for that praise and that: “Well done” from him all the time, and that brought the best out of me.’He was the one who broke my game down in every little small detail and he’d tell me things on a daily basis.
I’d be a bit confused at times, and thinking: “I’m not sure that’s right” but it drove me on to produce my best football. Gerrard added that he forgives Benitez for his approach and is friends with him’Now, that doesn’t work with every player.
There are certain guys in the dressing room I need to manage differently. For example, I could have a go at Steven Davis or Jermain Defoe and they’ve been around the game long enough to know it’s not personal, that I’m trying to help get the best out of them and that’s the way it is.
Others would be different.’I forgive Rafa now we are mates again. I preferred it when a manager was honest with me. Sometimes, if that wasn’t what I wanted to hear, then it was for me to be man enough and accept it. To look at myself, self-reflect and react.’We are still in touch.
And I can see it from his side now. You think, at the time, when you hear things you don’t want to hear that he’s picking on you. But he was only after the best Steven Gerrard he could get.