With manager Brendan Rodgers fueling speculation about Jamie Carragher coming out of retirement before he has actually retired, discussion around the stalwart defender has largely revolved around one of two possible inevitabilities of late: that he'd follow through on his previous announcement and retire, or that he'd be convinced by the gaffer to give it one final season next year.
What fell off the radar somewhat was the potential for Carragher to take up television punditry full time, an act he tried on for size with ITV during Euro 2012 and found that it was a very good fit. Although it was reported last month that Carra had come to an agreement with Sky Sports for next season, news on that front cooled as Carra maintained his form and Rodgers spoke of summer chats and future ambitions.
Punditry is now not only back on the table but apparently also a done deal (again) with Carragher set to join the likes of former Reds Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Souness, as well as former rival Gary Neville, at Sky Sports. There's even super convincing, absolutely not Photoshopped photographic proof to go with the announcement!
The news will come as a bit of a disappointment for anyone who had hoped Carragher would jump straight into a coaching role with Liverpool after retiring. Carra's steady acquisition of UEFA coaching badges over the years suggests a strong interest in keeping that avenue open in the future, but he is also quite practical about the challenges of actually making it as a manager in any league.
"We all look at Ferguson and Mourinho and think we’d love to be them — on the sidelines, winning games, big trophies — but you have to think where they started," Carragher said. "Mourinho was an assistant for years. Brendan Rodgers hasn’t just got the Liverpool job. He has been working for 20 years. Would I be prepared to go and work at an academy? Maybe, but it’s not top of my list of things that I want to do.
"I'm not sure players in [his and fellow retiree Michael Owen's] situation will go down that road. Maybe if you get a good job straight away, but think of the journeys the managers have gone on to get to the top. Very few top players now would be prepared to do that."
With a very successful playing career nearly behind him, Carragher's careful weighing of whether or not it's worth it to him to start from scratch and build a second career is both sensible and realistic given the ever quickening pace with which clubs sack their managers. Carra might very well have an inside track to one of those "good jobs" whenever he decides to take up the managerial mantle, but until that point fans will have to be content with hearing his voice through a studio microphone rather than over the din of a noisy pitch.