By India Today Sports Desk: Former Liverpool player Ryan Babel expressed his thoughts on Steven Gerrard’s surprising move to manage Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq.
Babel, who was once Gerrard’s teammate at Liverpool, believes that there is a trend of young managers and former players entering the managerial world, which may have influenced Gerrard’s decision. Babel stated that while it may initially be surprising for an English manager like Gerrard to move to Saudi Arabia, the landscape of football management is changing with a new generation of young and former players taking up managerial roles.
He speculated that Gerrard might have chosen to take on the opportunity at Al-Ettifaq to remain active and further his managerial career. Babel suggested that staying out of the managerial picture for too long might lead to missed opportunities, and Gerrard, being relatively young, may have seen the Saudi Arabian venture as a chance to stay engaged in the game.
“Initially of course, it is surprising [that he went to manage there]. Overall if you look at especially English managers, they tend to stay in England, but at the same time, I feel like we are entering in a new wave of new managers, right? Young managers, former players,” Babel said on talkSPORT.
“Look, at the end of the day we don’t know if Steven Gerrard had a lot of possibilities at this very moment, but I feel like as a manager if you’re out of the picture for too long maybe the door is slowly getting shut on you for these types of opportunities. Maybe it was one of those things he felt like ‘Hey, I want to stay busy, I’m still young, this is right now the opportunity I’ve got so let’s grab it’.”
Gerrard’s move to Saudi Arabia has indeed raised eyebrows, considering that many English managers prefer to stay in their home country. However, the emergence of this new wave of managers, including former players like Gerrard, could be a contributing factor to such unconventional choices.
As Gerrard begins his new managerial journey in Saudi Arabia, fans and football enthusiasts will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on both Gerrard’s progress.