Steven Gerrard says Rafa Benitez choosing Everton was “no surprise”

Steven Gerrard has said he wasn’t surprised by Rafa Benitez opting to become Everton’s new manager.

Back in 2005, Gerrard and Benitez were integral pieces of the puzzle as Liverpool Football Club shocked the world and won their fifth Champions League title. The miracle of Istanbul will forever be associated with the careers of these two men and rightly so, but as we know, both have moved on to pastures new in the 16 years since that famous night.

Stevie G backs Rafa

Gerrard is now in management and in charge of Scottish champions Rangers, whereas at the end of last month, Benitez made some big headlines by becoming the new boss at Goodison Park – the home of Liverpool’s city rivals.

During a recent interview with ESPN, Gerrard defended his former gaffer’s decision.

“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.

Gerrard, unsurprisingly, went on to say he was “surprised” to see his name linked to the job and made it clear that managing Everton wouldn’t be an option for him.

Over the course of the next few years, it’ll be interesting to see which of the two men is able to progress further in their managerial journey with Rangers and the Toffees respectively.

Everton’s Premier League run under Benitez begins on August 14 when they host Southampton.

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