Eddie Jones tips ‘very impressive’ Steven Gerrard for coaching stardom
It's nothing new for England rugby coach Eddie Jones to glean wisdom from his peers between competitions, and Aston Villa 's Steven Gerrard is the latest to catch the Australian's eye.
Having taken inspiration from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho in the past, Liverpool legend Gerrard is the latest football mind to impress the Red Rose chief.
That's after Jones travelled to Birmingham in an educational pilgrimage over the Christmas period, cramming in some last-gasp lessons ahead of the upcoming Six Nations.
England finished a joint-all-time worst fifth place in last year's tournament and are under huge pressure to improve this time around, with not long left until the 2023 Rugby World Cup gets underway.
Gerrard, 41, recently succeeded in masterminding a turnaround at Villa Park, having led an Aston Villa resurgence after replacing Dean Smith at the helm in November.
"I was lucky enough to visit Aston Villa and met with Steve Gerrard," said the two-time World Cup runner-up.
'He’s very impressive for a young coach. Very mature, beyond his age. You can see in the way he conducts himself as manager of Aston Villa that he is going to be a very good coach in the future."
One can see why the former Wallabies and Japan boss would be in awe of his coaching counterpart, who has brought some stability back to Villa's results with largely the same group of players.
The Premier League club had suffered five straight losses when they parted ways with Smith, who had collected just 10 points from a possible 33 in England's top-flight prior to his dismissal.
Gerrard—an Anfield icon and engineer of their 2005 Champions Leaguecomeback in Istanbul —got off to a winning start and took 12 points from his first six league matches in charge.
It's an impressive feat considering his only previous managerial position was at the helm of Rangers, who last season ended their decade-long search for a Scottish title and went unbeaten under his command.
Many a Liverpool fan will see Gerrard's progress in his first Premier League position as a natural next step on his seemingly inevitable route to one day take over the reins at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp —who led Liverpool to the Champions League crown in 2019 before winning the Premier League one year later—is contracted at Liverpool until 2024.
Where do you think England will finish in the 2022 Six Nations? Let us know in the comments section.
Jones led England to a runner-up finish behind South Africa at the most recent World Cup in 2019, and next year's tournament in France will be his final chance to finish the job.
The Australian has signalled his intent to step down from the RFU role following the tournament, giving him a little more than 18 months to prepare for his anticipated exit.
Jones has hinted at a transition to rugby league once his union career is over, although his fascination with football may yet open the door to an 11-a-side switch.
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