Sunday, July 4, 2010

Roy keen on keeping Kenny on board

New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is keen to retain the services of club legend Kenny Dalglish.

Hodgson, 62, officially took over on Thursday after signing a three-year contract having impressed in a final round of interviews at the weekend against one other unnamed candidate.

Dalglish, who given the role of identifying candidates to replace Rafael Benitez, had wanted a return to the role he successfully undertook in the late 1980s and early 1990s but was not even considered by Liverpool's board.

The man generally regarded as the club's greatest player may see that as something of a slight but Hodgson, a friend of Dalglish, very much wants him to remain on board. Dalglish is currently involved in youth development at the academy and is an ambassador for the club.

"Kenny will play a very big part in bringing youth players through," Hodgson said. "If he is going to take on the role of head of football development, his role in making that bridge between Kirkby (where the academy is based) and Melwood (the first team training ground) is going to be a vital one.

"I think he has lots of other roles to play. With his position at the football club I compare him to Giacinto Facchetti at Inter or Bobby Charlton at Manchester United - they have such a role to play. When this club needs representing, especially on a foreign stage, who better to represent it than Kenny Dalglish?

"I am hoping that between those two roles, ambassador and head of youth development, and the advice and help he is going to give me in my job, we will get great currency out of Kenny if he wants to be part of that and I hope he does.

"I had a long conversation with Kenny before I got the job and we need to sit down together now to work out how it will work in practice. With goodwill on his side - and there is plenty of goodwill on my side - we should find a solution."

Chairman Martin Broughton was somewhat dismissive when asked about how Dalglish's expression of interest in the manager's job had been received by the board.

"Kenny put his name forward for wanting the job and we appreciated the fact he was keen to do it but for us he was never a candidate and I explained that to him," he said. "We see Kenny as having an excellent long-term future at this club.

"He is happy in his current ambassadorial role but we would like to build on that role - although we haven't defined what that will be yet because it is for Roy and Kenny to work beyond that."

For his part, Dalglish has backed the appointment of Hodgson as the new Liverpool manager.

"I look very favourably on the appointment," he told the Daily Mail. "I have known Roy a long time and have a great respect for him. We've not had detailed conversations yet but my interests are in Liverpool."

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