Steven Gerrard 'surprised & shocked' Rafa Benitez joined Everton

Aston Villa manager and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has admitted he was ‘surprised and shocked’ that Rafa Benitez was even willing to become Everton manager when he accepted the job in the summer because of his history at Anfield.

Benitez, who famously spent six years in charge at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, left Everton just six months after being hired following last weekend’s defeat to Norwich.

That shock loss to the struggling Canaries was a ninth in Everton’s last 12 Premier League games, making his position extremely difficult and ultimately untenable.

Gerrard would have been due to face his former mentor in the Premier League this weekend as Villa make the trip to Goodison Park.

“I'm disappointed for Rafa because I've got a relationship with him and an awful lot of respect for him. I have to be honest, I thought it was a unique appointment at the time,” Gerrard said.

“I was surprised and shocked Rafa wanted to go and have a go at that job, with his legacy and his relationship with Liverpool. It hasn't worked out for whatever reason, you have to be inside the club to know why and what's gone on.”

Gerrard played 292 times for Benitez at Liverpool and was often the X-factor in the Spaniard’s otherwise largely functional and pragmatic Reds side.

He has seemingly taken on some of that influence in his own managerial career, making Villa more defensively resilient since he was appointed successor to Dean Smith in early November.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

Source : 90min