KOP legend John Aldridge hopes Liverpool ensure Jamie Carragher has a part to play in the club’s future once he retires from the game.
Carragher has decided to call time on his illustrious playing career at the end of the season.
Ex-Anfield striker Aldridge is amongst a host of former Reds players who see the defender as being ideal for a coaching role at Melwood.
Mark Lawrenson, Ian Callaghan and Phil Thompson have joined the chorus of tributes to Carragher who has amassed 723 appearances in a 16-year career at Liverpool.
Though taken aback by the timing of the 35-year-old’s announcement, especially given his recent excellent form, the former Liverpool stars have nothing but respect for Carragher’s decision.
The centre-half is unlikely to be short of offers to work in the media following a successful role as a television pundit during last summer’s European Championships.
But Aldridge would love to see Carragher handed a job at Liverpool – though wishes him well in whatever he chooses to do.
“I would like to see Jamie Carragher do what Jamie Carragher wants to do,” said Aldridge.
“He deserves to go down whichever avenues he wants, whether that be a coaching role or moving into television.
“Whatever he chooses, I wish him all the very best.
“From a selfish point of view as a Liverpool fan, I would love to see him stay around at Melwood.
“With so many youngsters coming through the club now, who better to have around them than Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher?
“There are no better players to show the new lads ‘The Liverpool Way’. He’s a great role model for the younger players and Jamie would be able to teach the new lads what the Premier League is all about.
“I would like him to stay at the club in the way they used to under Bill Shankly.
“If there is not a coaching role available then, at the very least, he could become an ambassador for the club.”
Lawrenson has echoed Aldridge’s sentiments and would like Liverpool to revive the values of the old Boot Room with Carragher.
“Jamie would be great on the training pitch,” he said.
“A great link between the players and manager and the team and the supporters.
“The days of the Boot Room have gone. In those days he would be brought on board as a coach. Maybe something could replace that old Boot Room and Jamie stays.
“It is so important to keep that link, especially with Jamie who has been the perfect role model.”
Callaghan, the only man to have represented Liverpool more than Carragher, says the defender has all the attributes to move into coaching.
“Having met Jamie, I would expect he will want to stay in the game,” said Callaghan, who played for Liverpool 857 times.
“He is football mad and apart from being a great player, he is a top man for stats on the game. He is an intelligent guy.
“He has that mentality you need to be a manager.”
Thompson added: “I know Jamie and know his passion for football and know he has an obsession with the game.
“Hopefully he can slot into the coaching staff at Liverpool.”
England manager Roy Hodgson, who was in charge at Anfield between 2010-11, said: “Having worked with Jamie Carragher it was always evident that he was a model professional who gave everything he had for club and country.
“He has had a fantastic career and will always be looked on very fondly by everyone associated with Liverpool Football Club.
“After retirement I am sure he will march quickly up the coaching ladder and become one of the country’s top young coaches.”
Carragher broke the news just before 1pm yesterday and Aldridge admits to being taken aback.
“My initial reaction was shock,” he said.
“Because I think most of us were thinking he might get a one year contract extension at the end of the season, in the way Sami Hyypia did.”
Added Lawrenson: “Like most people, I was shocked at the news – especially as he has played the last three Premier League matches.
“But Jamie will know better than anyone else how he feels after a game and how long it now takes him to recover.
“There is something to be said about finishing at the top if you possibly can.
“In the last three games he has looked back to his old self.
“Jamie loves football but I feel like this is a class move.
“People are not going to keep asking what his next move is to be.
“I think it is a really clever decision and that it now allows the club to get on with the rest of the season probably sums Carragher’s career up.
“He has never done anything for himself. He always put the club and his teammates first. He has been a real class act. I take my hat off to him.”
Callaghan was effusive in his praise for the centre-half.
“He has been a phenomenal player for Liverpool and a fantastic ambassador,” he said.
“It is easy to say someone has been a ‘great’ player but Jamie truly has been a great player and ambassador for the club.
“I have the greatest respect for Jamie the player and the person. He is a top man.”