By Saikat Mandal

22nd Jan, 2022 | 10:00am

Steven Gerrard says Rafa Benitez taking Everton job was biggest shock

Steven Gerrard has said that he was surprised to see Rafa Benitez took the Everton job due to his previous connection with Liverpool.

Everton will face Aston Villa in the Premier League clash on Saturday where Duncan Ferguson will be on the dugout after Benitez was fired from his role this month.

Gerrard has described Rafa’s decision as “biggest shock”, but he has hailed him as a world-class manager.

“From a tactical point of view, he is in that bracket of world-class managers — he’s proved that throughout his career,” said Gerrard, as quoted by The Times.

“The biggest surprise was him taking the job in the first place. I think [that given] the legacy that he had and his connection with Liverpool, and what he delivered at Liverpool — to take the Everton job, that was the biggest shock.

“What happened at Everton, that can happen at any club if the fit doesn’t work or certain things behind the scenes don’t work.”

Fresh direction

Gerrard, who played under Benitez during his time at Liverpool, is spot on here.

Benitez was not the perfect fit at Everton but he was not the only one to be blamed for the current mess the club is in.

A structural redevelopment is needed, but most importantly the club need to get the positive vibe back.

Under Rafa, Everton managed only one win in 13 Premier League games, and the fans were clearly unhappy with how things were going.

There was an air of toxicity around the club. That is why Ferguson is a smart appointment, even on an interim role.

He will bring back the passion and pride in the players and will unite the fan base again.

The results must improve, and that should be the main aim.

Villa have improved under Gerrard, but Everton at home under a new boss will be charged up for the occasion.  

In other Everton news, Big Dunc wields the axe in our predicted Toffees starting XI against Aston Villa on Saturday

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