• Premier League

Houllier praises "underrated" Carragher

ESPN staff
May 14, 2013

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has hailed Jamie Carragher as "a true leader" deserving of more recognition of his technical ability.

Vice-captain Carragher is set to play his final match in the Premier League against QPR at Anfield on Sunday before he retires.

The former England centre-back is bringing a 16-year Anfield first-team career to an end and becoming a TV pundit.

Carragher has often described Houllier, who managed Liverpool between 1998 and 2004, as the manager who had the biggest influence on his career.

The 35-year-old played mostly as a left-back under the Frenchman, before being converted into a central defender by Rafa Benitez.

"He started playing at left-back for me" Houllier told the club's official website. "He improved a lot. I always told him that big centre-backs usually start playing in the left or right-back position.

"It probably gave him a good reading of the game and he could use the ball. He started playing at Liverpool as a defensive midfield player but wherever you played him you got 100 per cent, even more. He was a true leader. He never gives up and whatever the score was he was always there and probably allowed us to make some comebacks in a game."

Carragher has earned plenty of praise for his leadership qualities, but Houllier feels that the defender's technical ability has often been overlooked.

"Sometimes they underrated his technique and skill," Houllier added. "Carra is not only a good reader of the game but also very skilful with the use of the ball. Because he puts 100% effort in all of the time, sometimes he would make a mistake, but he just goes for it. He was an international player, probably not as glamorous as some others, but he was at least as efficient as them.

"His worth ethic is fantastic and he is, as you know, a very loyal person - loyal to his friends, loyal to his family, loyal to the fans, loyal to the club, which is something that's not very usual now.

"He brought trophies to the club and he also brought heart. Carra is a true Liverpool warrior. I also like his generosity. I mean, not many people know how generous he can be. When he had his testimonial, he gave all of the money to charity.

"For the community and for the fans, he is someone who is very open and very generous. And last but not least, there is his sense of humour, because when Carra is around there's always a laugh and a joke. He has a great sense of humour - a Scouse sense of humour."

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