Legendary Spanish soccer manager Rafa Benitez has claimed that Jamie Carragher made the right choice to become a pundit. The former Liverpool star defender previously played for Benitez during a six-year spell beginning in 2004. With the Spaniard at the helm, the Reds collected multiple trophies, including the UEFA Champions League and FA Cup titles.

Benitez, now with Spanish side Celta Vigo, recently sat down with The Times to talk about a plethora of topics. In part of the discussion, the manager spoke about how a series of his former players have transitioned into coaching. This growing list is obviously highlighted by Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard. Alonso currently has Bayer Leverkusen atop the Bundesliga table.

However, the index also involves several other now retired players. Coaches that have previously played under Benitez now include Javier Mascherano (Argentina Under-20s), Fernando Torres (Atlético Madrid Under 19s), Albert Riera (Bordeaux), and Álvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid academy).

Benitez says Carragher better served as pundit because he can avoid real criticism

Although the list of players is impressive, Benitez claims that Carragher was perhaps his top pick to become a manager. “If you ask who was most likely to be a coach he [Carragher] was the one,” stated the Spanish coach.

Nevertheless, Benitez claims that his former defender has picked the right profession as a commentator. “He has chosen the right option, because as a pundit you can criticize, you can analyze and you never have to play a game. If you make a mistake it doesn’t matter,” Benítez said with a smile.

Carragher previously retired from his playing career following the 2012/13 season. Despite, according to Benitez, having the aptitude to go into coaching, the defender opted instead to become a pundit. Carragher quickly signed on with Sky Sports following his retirement to commentate on Premier League matches ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

Although his time in the spotlight was briefly postponed by the infamous spitting incident in 2018, the defender has become one of the most popular soccer media figures in England. Along with Sky Sports, the former Red has also contributed to The Telegraph and Danish channel TV3 Sport. Carragher now provides punditry for UEFA Champions League coverage with CBS Sports.

Carragher previously stated that he would only want to coach Liverpool

Many fans clearly like listening to Carragher discuss major talking points involving soccer on television. Viewers also enjoy the banter involving the former defender’s playful relationship with other on-air pundits. This includes Gary Neville, Thierry Henry, and Micah Richards.

Nevertheless, it would certainly be interesting to see how Carragher would get on in the coaching world. The move, however, seems unlikely anytime soon. The popular pundit previously proclaimed that he would only leave the small screen to turn to coaching in a rare instance.

Carragher stated back in 2017 that he is only interested in potentially serving as an assistant at Liverpool. Such a move has yet to materialize, and it remains unclear if Jurgen Klopp’s successor will speak to Carragher.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Newscom World : IMAGO / Sportimage