Former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant has heavily criticised Rafa Benitez’s managerial style during his stint at Anfield.
Benitez, 61, was recently announced as the new manager of Everton much to the frustration of some fans given his affiliation to arch-rivals Liverpool, in which the Spaniard oversaw a highly-succesful period between 2004 and 2010.
The Madrid-born tactician guided the Reds to two Champions League finals, famously masterminding the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’, with his side overturning a three-goal deficit at half-time to Milan and winning on penalties. He also won the 2006 FA Cup.
Given his heroics at Anfield and the deep-seated attachment he has to Liverpool, some Evertonians have been less than impressed by the appointment, with the revered coach succeeding Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park, who returned to Real Madrid in June.
Pennant has now fanned the flames of that discontent, verbally laying into his former manager, who he described as a ‘poor man-manager’, before going on to explain how Gerrard essentially ruled the roost and conducted the team talks.
“Look, it’s different for every player, different players will react differently with Rafa,” Pennant told talkSPORT.
“But in my eyes he wasn’t a great man-manager. His skills in that department were lacking.
18+ only. New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 4 x £10 bet token. Free bet stakes not included in returns, Free bets for horse racing & football only. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org.
18+ only. New customers only. UK only. Deposit £20 to receive free bets of £40. Free bets credited as four equal free bets of £10 each. All free bets unlocked when a total of £20 in of sports bets are placed and settled within qualifying period of 7 days. Minimum deposit amount is £20. Promotion T&Cs apply. Standard T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.
18+ only. New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.
18+ only. A £10 Sportsbook free bet plus a £10 Exchange free bet. Min £5 bet on the SBK, min odds 1.5 (1/2). Rewards valid for 7 days. Free bets must be placed at min odds of 1.5 (1/2). Exchange free bet limited to certain markets. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.
“Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have also made this publicly known as well, that they felt it was difficult.
“I felt it was difficult to approach him, have a conversation and maybe talk about certain situations on and off the pitch.
“He wouldn’t come up to you, he wouldn’t grab you by the side and have a chat about whatever you need to discuss. He kind of left it to Gerrard.
“Especially to big games, at half-time if things weren’t going very well, it wouldn’t be him pointing fingers and shouting instructions and telling you what needs to be done to win this game.
“It would have been Steven coming in giving you an effing and blinding.
“Playing back then, I wouldn’t want to annoy Gerrard first, and then my manager. Steven was the player-manager. I think every player will take it differently with him.”
CLICK HERE to claim BetFair’s new customer offer. 18+ only. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.
‘Sorry Everton fans! The club will go stagnant under him’
Despite an explosive start to 2020/21, in which Everton won their opening four games, with new recruits James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure all settling in nicely, the Toffees’ form nosedived and the club eventually finished 10th, when European football looked a foregone conclusion at one point.
Benitez’s job will be to build on that and ensure the club secure a higher finish to gain entry to continental football, as well as ridding the stigma of the ‘Everton Cup’, in which the Merseysiders are regularly mocked for seemingly always finishing just below the Premier League’s title challengers — or ‘Big Six’.
However, Pennant, who made 81 appearances for Liverpool in three years between 2006 and 2009, does not believe Benitez has the managerial skillset to oversee such a revolution at Goodison Park, instead believing the club will go ‘stagnant’ under his watch.
“Is he going to light it up at Everton? Is he going to take them to the next level? Personally I don’t think he will. Sorry Everton fans!” Pennant continued.
“He’s a legend at Liverpool for that famous game, coming back from 3-0 down in the Champions League, which was Gerrard-driven 100 per cent and I know that.
‘After Liverpool you look where he’s been… Newcastle he didn’t really set them alight, he kept them afloat.
“I just feel he’s going to be a little bit stagnant at Everton.”
Compare football odds to get the best in the market using the Oddspedia tool below. Selecting a price will take you to the bookmaker’s sign-up page, where you can register, claim whatever welcome offer is available to new customers and place your bet. (18+ only, Be Gamble Aware)