Aidy Ward, the much-maligned agent of Raheem Sterling, has launched a stinging attack on former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, claiming many players didn’t rate him.
Sterling left Anfield under a cloud in the summer, joining Man City for £50million having pushed for a move during the second-half of 2014/15.
Ward, criticised for his part in Sterling’s behaviour, has solely blamed Rodgers for things spiralling out of control, and feels he is overrated as a manager.
“I became the bad guy, that’s how I was portrayed,” he told the Daily Mail.
“It started from the PR behind Liverpool. There is no issue with the fans there, they don’t know the full story, and there are lots of good people at Liverpool.
“I had no problem with (chief executive) Ian Ayre for example. I have no issue with anyone but Rodgers. He had a massive job with massive funds. How did he do? Good coach, but as a manager I didn’t like certain things about how he dealt with Raheem.
“Fifty per cent of the players would probably tell you Brendan is not a good manager, but he is a good coach.”
Ward also spoke about the appointment of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, and admits Sterling would thrive under the German were he still a Reds player; something he believes he still should be.
“The new Liverpool manager probably would have been a great fit for Raheem – passionate, disciplined in the right way, new ideas, not afraid of trying new things. He’ll do great at Liverpool,” he continued.
“Would Raheem under Klopp have been a good scenario? Yes, 100 per cent, definitely, mainly because of the person Klopp is – the passion, the drive, the emotion, wanting to achieve.
“Raheem has all of this, but you won’t always see it outwardly. Working with Klopp – that could have been great. He’s going to get the best out of those players. It could have been a dream come true.
“Raheem could’ve stayed, he should be at Liverpool. I think for me it was like he was being told to be a good boy and sign a contract. In December I spoke to Liverpool and said we’ll sign a contract if there is a buy-out clause – those clauses are now common practice. They said no to that.
“Then there was an underhandedness, there were sly remarks. In press conferences, Brendan told everyone Raheem would sign – why do that?
“Last season I thought subliminal messages were being sent to Raheem. Why would Liverpool play him at left wing back? Would you play Simon Mignolet up front? I think it was the game against Manchester United, he was played as an attacking midfielder, moved to right back, then up front, then left back, and eventually back to attacking midfielder. I was watching thinking: “Well this is interesting”.”
Ward does make some valid points, in fairness, and Rodgers was certainly guilty of getting carried in away press conference during his time in charge of the Reds.
Sterling was no angel by any means, but it feels like a situation that Klopp would have handled far better.