Steven Gerrard recently spoke of the pitfalls of former players jumping into the management deep end too quickly and expecting to stay afloat, but it’s a trap Xabi Alonso has intentionally avoided.
The Spaniard is one of a handful of former Reds having taken a route into in management, with Robbie Fowler, Daniel Agger, Sami Hyypi and Harry Kewell among some of the most recent.
Some have experienced more success than others but for Alonso and Gerrard the desire was always to start from the beginning and work their way up, and it’s paying off.
After his recent switch to Aston Villa, Gerrard warned of a pitfall he has seen too often, one he avoided by working with Liverpool’s under-18s.
“I think a lot of players, from what I’ve seen, they think maybe because they’ve had a decent playing career they automatically think they can roll into a coaching or a managerial role and all of sudden they’re going to be really good at it,” he said.
Gerrard didn’t name any names but it’s clear Alonso’s won’t be on his list, with the 39-year-old laying the foundations of his management career with Real Sociedad B.
His youth team is the only one playing in the adult Segunda Division after winning promotion in only his second season at the helm, taking Sanse to the Second Division for the first time in nearly 50 years.
He has helped create a production line of talent for the first team, currently top of LaLiga, and while he has ambitions to make the step to an “elite team”, he’s happy learning his trade away from the spotlight first.
“Everyone has their own decisions, I try to take the steps myself, not be pushed,” Alonso told the Athletic.
“I have the ambition to manage an elite team, but I am in no hurry. I am very happy where I am. The timeline at the moment is just to keep our place in Segunda this year.
“I was starting a new career, and I knew I was going to learn here, to have the patience and the support of so many people,” he added on his choice to start with Real Sociedad.
“There is a very clear model here, with support, facilities, communication — it is all very natural, very fluid. The process is helping me to know myself, to correct things, to make mistakes.
“This is a place where you have a bit more space to learn. The players teach me a lot too, what it is to train, to play, to communicate and explain. This is my third season and it is going well.”
The paths between the two great teammates are very much alike and clubs have already come calling so it’s only a matter of the right time for Alonso before he moves on.