Steven Gerrard told ESPN that leaving his job as Rangers manager to take over at Everton was “never an option,” but that he was not shocked by Rafael Benitez’s choice to transfer to Goodison Park following Carlo Ancelotti’s departure for Real Madrid.
Former Liverpool captain Gerrard will face Ancelotti at Ibrox on Sunday when Real travel to Glasgow for a preseason friendly to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Scottish champions.
After led Rangers to their first league title in ten years, Ancelotti’s sudden departure from Everton at the end of last season after only 18 months in command sparked talk linking Gerrard with a return to his hometown as the Italian’s successor.
Despite his six-year time in command of Liverpool from 2004 to 2010, the 41-year-old indicated that managing Everton was and will always be a non-starter, he told ESPN in an exclusive interview that he understands Benitez’s desire to manage the club.
“Rafa wasn’t born in the city, he’s not a red through-and-through and he never played against Everton for 20 years and competed against them, so I think it’s a very different situation [to mine],” Gerrard said.
“Rafa is his own man and will make his own professional decisions, so there’s no surprise that he wanted to get back in the Premier League at a big club and have the opportunity to compete against all the top teams in the league, so I wasn’t very shocked and surprised at all in all honesty.
“I was very shocked and surprised that my name was linked to the job. I don’t know where it came from, whether it was paper talk or if there was any truth in it, I’m not sure.
“[Managing Everton] is never a possibility as far as I’m concerned.”
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