Youngsters should copy Ronaldo and Carragher, says Houllier

MANCHESTER: Cristiano Ronaldo and Jamie Carragher might be polar opposites in footballing style but both are role models young players should seek to emulate, according to former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier.

Houllier, also the former coach of France, Paris St Germain, Lyon and Aston Villa, said it was the mentality of the Real Madrid striker and the former Liverpool centre-back that set them apart.

"I look at Ronaldo at Real Madrid and I'm very surprised by the quality of his desire every year," Houllier, now head of football for Red Bull, told Reuters.

"He is scoring practically 50 goals a season over several seasons, not just one year. It is remarkable.

"You need talent, work and a great attitude - attitude makes the difference. Your attitude can compensate for a little less talent. If you don't have the desire to go with the talent, it makes it hard to succeed.

"It is about how you behave off the pitch and how you train on it. Once a player understands that maybe he doesn't have the same talent as his neighbour but that he can make up the difference, it helps."

Houllier was Carragher's manager at Liverpool and said the England defender was a joy to coach.

"Jamie had something about him anyway but probably his commitment and desire made him a special player," the Frenchman added.

"I insist that Jamie had more talent than he thought he did - he just needed to adjust his attitude, which he did very easily. If I helped him I am happy, but he was easy to be helped."

Houllier, the former technical director of the French Football Federation, also told the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester that while academies are changing, they are crucial to the health of a club.

"You need players to progress to the first team, but no manager deprives himself of a good player - if he is a good player, he will play," added the 69-year-old.

"The first-team coach squeezes the lemon, the youth coach ripens it. There was a time when you can scout the player, train them and play them. Now you scout them and make sure you keep them otherwise they go elsewhere.

"Academies are the roots of some clubs, if you lose the root, you die."

Houllier also believes his former club Liverpool can reclaim their place in the Champions League next season.

The Anfield club sit fourth in the Premier League table after a strong start to the new season under Juergen Klopp that has included wins at Arsenal and Chelsea.

"I have watched practically every game this season," said Houllier, who was in charge at Anfield for six years.

"They are entertaining and also extremely efficient - look at the number of goals they have scored.

"I know and like the coach, so I am happy. And the best is yet to come."