Ian Rush believes bookies will be paying out on Steven Gerrard becoming Liverpool manager… but not yet.
Anfield’s record goalscorer has linked up with Kop midfield icon Gerrard in a dream partnership hoping to produce the next generation of young players.
They might be from different eras, but neither has forgotten his humble roots.
Along with business partner Irama, the Ian Rush Foundation has been buying up non-league football grounds to provide facilities for youngsters.
This will now also house the Steven Gerrard Academy.
Gerrard’s Academy offers the chance – through a two-year educational course – to either become players, coaches or to work in other areas of the game.
Rush said: “I was lucky enough to have Kenny Dalglish alongside me on the pitch, and now it’s great to join up with Steven Gerrard off it.
“The reason I have gone into this partnership wasn’t because of the way he played football, but because I know what he’s like off the pitch and what he wants to do. He is so dedicated and it’s the same with this project.”
“The percentage of those who make it into the professional game is very low.
“What we want to do is to give youngsters a better chance.”
Rush has congratulated his new partner, as Rangers boss, in ending Celtic’s dominance, insisting there is more to come.
Rush added: “What he has done at Rangers is absolutely incredible. To stop Celtic winning the Scottish Premiership for the 10th time on the run was special.
“Rangers also had a good run in Europe and there’s still a chance that they could go through the league season undefeated. That’s something special. When you’ve actually won the league, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain that momentum.
“Mentally, you’ve done what you set off to do at the beginning of the season. So to carry that on and remain unbeaten will be another remarkable achievement for Steven Gerrard.
“He won’t allow their standards to drop.
“Next season will be a big test because everyone will want to beat Rangers. He knows all about that.
“Steven has been used to that as a player with Liverpool – he will be up for it.”
Inevitably, Gerrard’s progress as a manager north of the border is being monitored closely, with the 44-year-old already installed as the favourite with the bookies to be Jurgen Klopp’s successor at his former club.
Rush admitted: “Bookies are never far wrong. Hopefully, Jurgen Klopp will be at Liverpool a long time because that means they are doing well.
“One day, I’m certain, he will manage Liverpool, but it’s not going to be tomorrow. I’m certain that managing Liverpool is in his long-term thinking, but management is a learning curve and Stevie is still learning.
“Timing is everything – maybe it was a bit too soon, for instance, for Frank Lampard to leave Derby County for Chelsea.
“I actually thought he did OK, but he still lost his job. You don’t want the same thing to happen to Steven. You have to be careful pushing people too soon.”
Liverpool, though, won’t have things all their own way if Gerrard continues to impress at Ibrox, says Rush.
“Next season it’s about retaining the Scottish Premiership and doing well in Europe,” added Rush.
“If Steven does that, then I think he won’t just be on Liverpool’s managerial wish list.
“He will be on a few.”