England’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ could have won a major tournament if they’d had a forceful manager like Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, according to Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard was part of the star-studded England side of the 2000s, alongside other individual talents such as Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and David Beckham, but as a collective at international tournaments they always flattered to deceive.
Under immense fan and media pressure, England failed to get beyond the quarter-finals of a major tournament for 22 years between Euro 96 and the 2018 World Cup, meaning Gerrard’s generation of England talents never got close to a major international trophy.
Looking back, Gerrard feels a major problem was not having a manager with the status or personality to match that of the players, with coaches such as Sven-Goran Eriksson, Steve McClaren and Fabio Capello failing to bring success to England.
Speaking on the BBC’s Match of the Day Top 10 podcast, Gerrard said:
“I look back on England with a lot of regrets. I see the picture of that team and we had some fantastic groups of players over the years. We came close at times but there’s no getting away from it, we underperformed.
“Looking back, we needed a manager who was bigger than all of those individual players. There were managers available at the time, for example Rafa Benitez, but he might not have wanted to have been an international manager at that time.
“I look at managers now that are bigger than the team; Klopp, Mourinho and Guardiola. I think someone like that who was above the golden generation who was prepared to make the tough decisions would have got more out of that group of players, in my opinion.”
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