Steven Gerrard just loves it, doesn’t he? Watch him celebrate those two goals on his first day in the Aston Villa dugout. That cannot be manufactured. It’s just in him. He lives and breathes the job.
That dedication should stand him in good stead to make a success of this Premier League lark. And success would surprise nobody, especially those who know him.
I’ve always thought his reactions to goals on the touchline — and this was the same at Rangers — are almost as if he has stuck one in the top corner from 25 yards himself. That makes me think maybe I should have gone into coaching. Maybe it’s an even better feeling because you have to work so hard behind the scenes.
New Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard’s joy makes me think I should have gone into coaching
His personality has already given Villa a lift, and he commands such huge respect
…And here’s what my old England team-mates are up to now!
These are the other 10 starters for Peter Crouch’s World Cup debut against Paraguay in 2006, and what they went on to do after hanging up their boots:
Paul Robinson: No manager gig. He’s done punditry work for Qatari-based beIN Sports.
Gary Neville: Briefly England assistant before a bleak spell at Valencia. Now a Sky pundit.
Rio Ferdinand: Chose punditry instead of going down the management path.
John Terry: Aston Villa’s assistant coach from October 2018 to July 2021.
Ashley Cole: Coached with Derby, Chelsea and England U21s. Wants to be a top-flight boss.
David Beckham: No management role but is co-owner of Inter Miami, among other things.
Steven Gerrard: Now Aston Villa boss after a successful stint in charge of Rangers.
Frank Lampard: Managed Derby and Chelsea but now out of work.
Joe Cole: Coached at Chelsea and was assistant at Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Michael Owen: TV pundit who has never gone into management.
I have huge respect for former professionals who take the plunge. Scott Parker is a good mate of mine, he lives nearby, and I’ll always remember when he won promotion with Fulham.
All the effort and energy that go into an achievement as huge as that were bundled up into an emotional interview on the touchline at Wembley when they won the play-off final.
There is a little voice in my mind telling me I’ll never have that again. But then on the flipside, Scott, now doing well at Bournemouth, is never home and goes through what he does on a weekly basis.
Although you never quite know how you are going to get on, these guys are basically reliving their first steps in football. They probably feel like teenagers again. Every goal that goes in, every win they earn, it’s like when you first start playing.
Look at Stevie’s emotion when the ball hits the net. You cannot replicate that emotion, the release, in any other walk of life. The facial expressions, the joy, that pure, passionate emotion.
The main thing with Stevie is that he backs himself and I really enjoy watching his media commitments.
His press conference last week was very revealing, making sure he relayed that this job is not just a stepping stone to Anfield.
I was interested to see what he had to say, because Stevie is one of those characters you can take a lot from, and he said all the right things. He’s emotional, can get a bit angry and that passion shines through.
All of the top managers now — Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel being the best trio — are transparently emotional.
They manage every minute of the game, living it from start to finish, and that is what Stevie possesses. It’s in his blood.
I’m really looking forward to following how he goes at Villa. We have all said it before, but the amount of respect he commanded among us team-mates – trying to impress him on a daily basis – can only be replicated and even amplified as a manager.
Every team in the division would have been looking at him after what he did at Ibrox. That was somewhere he probably had a job for as long as he wanted, until the Liverpool position came up, but he always wants to test himself.
Having an aura, being a leader, a born winner — he’s got all of that and more. We saw on Saturday as his side beat Brighton that Villa Park was given an extra lift for his presence and that will continue.
Eventually, he will be a shoo-in when Klopp leaves, but for now he has all the attributes to do a really good job at Villa. That, as he has said, will be his sole focus.
I’m going to avoid clichés here but Villa has been a club, for a long time now, that has been waiting for lift-off. I’ve played there and, unless you are connected to that place, or been around it, you don’t quite realise how big they are.
The ground is a special place. I used to go up there for FA Cup semi-finals as a kid, and then when signing for them as a youngster in 2002, you are in this huge, grand tunnel and it just feels prestigious. You feel like you are walking into history.
Villa is a massive club, as Ollie Watkins will know after scoring in front of the fans on Saturday
I’ll never forget when my good mate Scott Parker (pictured right) got promoted with Fulham
The Holte End is unforgiving yet offers such a buzz when you are playing well. Ollie Watkins will know what I’m talking about after that stunning goal in front of them on Saturday.
It’s an exciting appointment and for Gerrard it represents an exciting task to take them to the next level. Villa were so thrilling last season and it’s difficult to put my finger on what happened in the weeks before they parted company with Dean Smith.
Was there still a Jack Grealish hangover? They have spent money on his replacements and you would imagine that Stevie will be given some more to freshen it all up again.
He does need to add to that squad if they want a top-half finish, which must be the remit. He will want to put his stamp on things, possibly in January.
Gerrard will surely replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, but he is committed to Villa right now
I wasn’t surprised that Watford beat United
Whether you agree with the decision on Smith or not, Villa were decisive. Manchester United, on the other hand, have been anything but and allowed their problems to fester for too long before relieving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of his duties on Sunday. What can you say about the Watford defeat? Was anybody surprised?
Nobody wants to call for sackings but I heard someone ask the other day whether Solskjaer would be there if he wasn’t a club legend. We all know the answer.
Manchester United dallied over axing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it’s not been good enough for ages
The United board will know their reasons for this having dragged on, but it’s been nowhere near good enough for ages.
The players come out on TV and social media to say as much all the time. At some point, they are going to have to show they can address it properly. Solskjaer would still be in a job if they had done it sooner.
I’ve still got it! Anyone need a five-a-side ringer?
There was a dream team at the Shoreditch Powerleague last Thursday that drew quite a big crowd underneath the train tracks in London’s coolest neighbourhood.
Graham Stack in goal. Glen Johnson mopping up. Steve Sidwell in the engine room. Joe Cole, the perfect small-sided player, running the show. Carlton Cole poaching. Oh, and me.
I was basically the gaffer, pulling this stellar cast together for Tap Music’s charity five-a-side competition.
I made sure to round up some good lads who then enjoyed the social after as well, of course. There was an Irish bar with a live band afterwards: a great night.
Joe Cole (centre) joined me for a charity five-a-side competition – our team wasn’t bad at all!
I haven’t played much since I retired. Not at all, really, and you never know how former pros are going to go. I was worried beforehand but then we were 3-0 up in the first few minutes of our opening game. Still got it!
It was a good standard, the boys we faced in the final were decent. We needed to be on our game. I absolutely loved it and feel like I want to get back into the five-a-side circuit.
My mate plays in a team locally so I could act as a ringer for them. Sadly, I can’t really disguise myself, can I? I would quite like to keep this team going, though. It was not a bad side, packed with Premier League experience.
Casual footballers of London, watch out. We might be coming for you!