LIVERPOOL MANAGER Brendan Rodgers says leaving Jamie Carragher out of his first team has been a difficult decision to make.
Carragher will captain the Reds in their Europa League clash with Young Boys this evening, but Rodgers has left the veteran defender on the bench for his side’s Premier League games this term.
It is a decision that the Northern Irishman describes as the ‘hardest part’ of his job given Carragher’s standing at the club and professionalism.
“For me this is the hardest part of my job — he (Carragher) is the hardest part of my job, because every day of his life he comes in and he gives his all,” Rodgers told reporters.
“He works himself to a standstill every day of his life. And guys like that I want to put in the team when it matters. The Europa League matters of course, but every player wants to play in the Premier League on Sunday. And that is the most difficult decision I have as the manager of Liverpool — seeing him every day give his life to the club as hard as he does and then not being able to give him a shirt in the starting 11 at the weekend.”
Rodgers insists that he will not force the 34-year-old to retire, and has offered him a role within the backroom staff at Anfield.
“When I came in to the club, I had a real good chat with Jamie and he wasn’t sure himself where he was at in terms of his career. He’s been a stalwart and has been a regular until the last season, so he was wondering where he goes,” Rodgers said.
“He’s one of the guys whose the soul of the club and there has to be a place for someone like him. Whether he wants to do that is another thing.
“Okay, the legs may not be the same as they were six or seven years ago, but he still has a lot to contribute for me on the football field. His passions are for the football club, he wants what’s best for the club and I enjoy working with guys like that.
“There’s no doubt there’s maybe that role beyond playing for him later on, but for me, what he has given me in these opening few months there is no reason he can’t play on for a few more years yet. He’s an incredible character and I can see why he has played more than 700 games for this club, because his focus and concentration into his work is phenomenal.”