Jamie Carragher on Neville, Redknapp, Souness and becoming a pundit
Jamie Carragher explains his new role and why he can't wait to start debating with Gary Neville.
Last Updated: 08/07/13 1:17pm
The former Liverpool and England defender joins our team of experts for a season where you can watch 116 live Barclays Premier League matches, more than ever before, in HD and on mobile and tablet devices only with Sky Sports.
He's set to join Gary Neville and Ed Chamberlin in the Monday Night Football studio and ahead of the new season, he told us how preparations are going for his new role and just what he thinks of his new Sky Sports team-mates...
Welcome to Sky Sports Jamie. How strange does it feel to be spending your summer preparing for the season as a pundit rather than a player?
It doesn't seem too strange at the moment, but it may start to seem strange when the season starts. At the moment, I just feel like a player at the end of the season and I don't think it will really hit home until the lads start playing some games.
Do you think you'll be yearning to get back out there once the season starts?
I'm sure when I'm watching some of the games in the studio I will want to go on, but I made my decision. I wanted to be able to stay in the game and Sky gave me that opportunity. Of course, you speak to every ex-player and they'd all love to put their boots back on and I'm sure I'll be no different at some stage this season.
Have you been keeping yourself in shape or just enjoying the chance to let yourself go now that you've retired?
No! I've been keeping myself in shape! I'm supposed to be going on the TV and I've got to try to look the part, so I've been keeping myself fit and that will continue. I won't let myself get too carried away. I've had a break with the kids and I've been able to have a bit more of a holiday. That's one of the reasons why you retire; you want to spend a bit more time abroad in the summer months getting a bit of a tan!
Tell us why you thought the time was right to move into broadcasting?
I did a bit of punditry 12 months ago at the Euros and enjoyed it. There was an offer to go to Sky and I was delighted because they've been the best for years in covering the Premier League, the Champions League and all the top games. It's great to be a part of that.
And how excited are you to be joining a flagship show like Monday Night Football?
It's a great show. It gets a bit more in depth into the tactical side of the game and that's something I'm very interested in. I'm just thankful to be given that opportunity and to work with someone like Gary Neville.
What have you been doing to prepare for your role so far?
I've had the Monday Night Football gadgets installed in my house with the monitor and all the different arrows and I'm trying to get up to speed with that so I'm ready to go at the start of the season. It's in the kids' room so I've been taking up their space! It's not the very big one, it's only a smaller screen, but it's a big help. It takes a while because I've not done that sort of thing before, but I'm trying to get as much practice in as possible. Sky have been a great help and have been doing everything they can to make it an easy transition.
Have you had to do much research on the new players coming into the league?
Of course. With all the new teams coming into the league you need to be aware of them and all the new signings as well. There is a lot of information to take in, but I love my football and I'm well aware of the players in different teams. I'm always watching football and that will continue.
What do you think makes a good football pundit?
You've got to know your stuff. You've got to have your opinions and not be too worried about upsetting people. You've got to do your job right, rather than look after your mates. You've got to be good at your job and that's what I intend to do. I'll give my opinion on the game and it might be different to others, but that's what makes the game so great, the difference of opinions.
Will it be hard for you to criticise your former Liverpool team-mates if they play badly?
When that happens on the pitch I'd criticise them on the pitch anyway, so it won't make that much difference doing it in the TV studio really! Liverpool was a big part of my life and still will be for the rest of my life, but I've got a job to do and I'll try and do it the best that I can.
How impartial can we expect you to be during Liverpool v Man United games or Merseyside derbies?
I'll be impartial. I'm sure I'll still have a bit about me that would love Liverpool to win and I don't think people would expect me to say differently, but I want to do this as well as I can and the only way to do this is by being honest and by giving the opinions that I feel at that time.
What do you plan to bring to the table? What will your style be?
I think I'll be pretty straight. That's the way I am as a person and I imagine that will be an extension of my character that you've seen on TV doing interviews and different things. It's not about going on and looking for trouble or trying to be controversial, it's just about saying what you think of certain situations. I'm sure there will be people sitting there and thinking differently, but that's what makes football so great.
Which pundits have you enjoyed watching on television over the years?
Gary Neville, Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Souness! Haha! I'm joining a great team.
You'll be working closely with Gary Neville on Monday Night Football this season. What's your relationship like with him?
We know each other from our England days, but not on a day-to-day basis as we were at different clubs and were big rivals. He was good to play with because he was a good player, but to play against he was a nightmare really because he wanted his team to win like I wanted my team to win. We were both very passionate about our clubs and you've seen that on TV with him. Hopefully I can show that passion myself, not just about my own club but about football in general. It should be a great relationship on screen with our different opinions. He has been great on TV and hopefully I can come in and add a bit more to Monday Night Football.
Do you think it could get spicy at times? Perhaps when you're both watching a Manchester United v Liverpool game?
I'm sure it will, but that's what you want isn't it? It should make great TV. As long as it's a proper football debate that's what you want to see. People have different opinions and it's not about one club or another. It's about saying what you believe in and I'm sure that as we're both very passionate people that will come out on screen.
How about Jamie Redknapp? You were at Liverpool together, so are you looking forward to working with him again?
He's been great. I've known Jamie for a long time and we played together and that's why it will be different from working with the other pundits. I've got on very well with Jamie over the years and he's been there a long time and has a lot of experience in TV. I'm sure he'll be a big help for me.
Another new team-mate of yours is Graeme Souness. He was the Liverpool manager when you first started out in football, so do you have much experience with him?
Not really. I was in the schoolboy set-up and he'd left before I joined full-time, but he's been around as a player and a manager and has fallen very comfortably into that punditry role. He's obviously older than the others and has more experience in terms of management and being in different countries, but he has a great persona on Sky and carries himself very well. He always looks very smart and is like a dad to everybody else isn't he really?
Finally, as a pundit you have to give us a few predictions. How do you think the top four will look at the end of the season?
The obvious three will be Chelsea, Man United and Man City. I'd expect those three to be up there, but if Arsenal spend well again - they look like they're going to invest a lot more into it - I'd expect them to get that fourth spot. I see the top three the same as it is now, but I'd expect Chelsea to make a much stronger challenge for the title and maybe just pip Man United.
And the bottom three?
You always look at the promoted sides. There may be a surprise package, but you would have to say they are teams that could get involved in a relegation battle. You look at Norwich and Stoke, who came close last season and may be dragged in again and you look at Newcastle and the situation last season and what's going on behind the scenes there now. I'd be looking at maybe those three teams plus the promoted sides.
And where will Liverpool finish?
I think Liverpool and Tottenham will be vying with Arsenal to get that fourth place. It's not set in stone who will finish up there at the moment and certainly Liverpool have got to run them a lot closer than they did last season or the year before - and there's no reason why Liverpool or Tottenham can't get in that space because it's so tight between those teams. I certainly expect an improvement from Liverpool this season.
Finally, have you got any pre-season nerves?
It's more excitement really. I'm looking forward to what will happen. No matter how disappointing the last season was as a player, you always have anticipation for the new season that it will go well. I'm on the other side of the fence now, but I'm still getting the same feelings - but not just about Liverpool now. It's about other teams and what games I could do and what I could bring to the table. It's exciting. Sky Sports is always the best thing to watch when there's football on and I'm glad to be a part of it.
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