Xabi: I'm following Stevie's progress closely

Xabi Alonso is keeping a close eye on Steven Gerrard’s budding coaching career and has no doubt that his former teammate can go on to achieve great things as a manager.

Liverpool legend Gerrard took charge of the Reds’ U18s in the summer and has overseen a promising start to the season, with his side remaining undefeated six games into the campaign.

The ex-captain is also gaining managerial experience on the European stage with the club’s U19s, with the young Reds having won one and lost one of their opening two matches in the UEFA Youth League.

Alonso, who played alongside Gerrard at Liverpool for five years between 2004 and 2009, is watching on with interest from afar and is backing his former skipper to be a success in his new vocation.

“I’m following the early steps of his career closely and for sure he has all the attributes to become a big manager and a Liverpool manager one day,” the ex-Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Spain playmaker told Liverpoolfc.com.

“For sure, to have someone with his knowledge [will help Liverpool’s youngsters]. But it’s different, you can be a great player but being a manager is a different task. 

“For sure, he’s really focused and if he’s able to deliver that message he will be a good one.”

Exclusive: Xabi on Stevie's leadership, pride and friendship

Alonso was speaking at a ceremony that saw Gerrard presented with the 2017 Legend of Football Award in London earlier this week. 

Pele and Kenny Dalglish feature among the list of previous winners of the accolade - and Alonso believes Gerrard belongs in such esteemed company.

“Of course we had so many experiences together, so many highs, a few lows as well,” said the World Cup-winner.

“For sure, he deserves this kind of award. He’s a true legend of the game and I think that’s why he’s so praised and we appreciate him so much.”

Alonso went on explain how Gerrard helped him both personally and professionally after he arrived on Merseyside from Real Sociedad at the age of 22 in the summer of 2004.

“I remember my first days in Liverpool. He was a true leader by example, not just in words, and you had to watch and learn from him and keep him close, as close as I could because I knew he was going to be a good influence for me,” he continued.

“We started building a relationship on the pitch [and] off the pitch. Really he represents so well what the Liverpool pride means, the way he behaves, and since then we became really good friends.”