• Premier League

Rodgers urges Carragher to play on for Liverpool

Mike Whalley
September 20, 2012

Jamie Carragher has been told by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers that he does have an Anfield future beyond this season.

Rodgers has indicated that it will be up to the 34-year-old defender to decide whether to continue playing or join the coaching staff. Carragher has started three of Liverpool's four Europa League matches this season, but has played only half-an-hour of Premier League football.

He will captain an inexperienced side on Thursday night as they face their first Europa League Group A match against Young Boys in Berne.

With his domestic opportunities likely to be limited this season, Carragher has considered retiring at the end of the season. But Rodgers has indicated he would be happy to consider retaining the defender as a coach or a player.

"I had a conversation with Jamie when I first came in and he wasn't sure about where he was at in his career," Rodgers told the Guardian.

"He has been a stalwart at this club and was a regular until last season. But I've been so impressed by him on and off the pitch.

"I think he can play on. He is one of the guys who is the soul of this club and there has to be a place for someone like him. Whether he wants to play on is up to him.

"He is one of the best technical players we have here - left foot, right, his touch and his reading of the game. Okay, the legs might not be what they were six or seven years ago, but he's still got a lot to contribute.

"No doubt there is a role for him later on but there is no reason why he cannot play on from what I've seen over the last few months."

Carragher's only Premier League appearance this season was as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 opening-day defeat at West Brom.

He has been an unused substitute in Liverpool's three other league games, and is likely to return to the bench when Manchester United visit Anfield on Sunday.

Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, who have been rested for the trip to Berne in readiness for the United game, will be recalled.

And Rodgers has acknowledged that Carragher's commitment has made naming him on the bench - rather than in the starting line-up - a difficult task.

"He is the hardest part of my job," the manager said. "Every day of his life he comes in and gives his all.

"Guys like that you want to put in the team when it matters. This game matters, but all players want to play in the Premier League, and not picking him is the most difficult part of my job as Liverpool manager.

"Seeing him work so hard and not giving him a shirt is the most difficult job I've got."

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