Ian Rush surprised at Michael Laudrup's success as a manager
MICHAEL Laudrup’s managerial success has surprised Wales and Liverpool legend Ian Rush.
The pair played together at Juventus in the late 1980s and Rush said Laudrup helped him settle during his difficult spell in Italy.
But Rush said he never expected to see Laudrup achieving big success as a manager.
“He never struck me as a big student of the game but I have great memories of him,” Liverpool ambassador Rush is reported as saying.
“He helped me so much when I was at Juventus, he was a big plus for me when I roomed with him.
“Talk about Gareth Bale going to Real Madrid, you need someone to help you settle in the dressing room and Michael helped me.
“He was there for me with all the off-the-field things. On the pitch looks after itself, but away from it, which is just as important, he was great for me.
“If you’re not happy off the pitch, there’s no way you perform at your best on it, even if you think you are. I struggled so I don’t know how I would have been without Michael. After six months, then it was easier because he had helped me settle.”
Rush played for Juventus from 1987-88 after signing for a British record transfer fee at the time of £3.2million. He scored eight times in 29 games.
Ironically, Laudrup had possibly been on his way to Anfield in 1983, but went to Juventus instead.
He was immediately loaned to Lazio but returned to Juventus in 1985-86, helping them win the Serie A championship and the Intercontinental Cup.
Rush saw Laudrup in Swansea last year and said he believes the Dane had improved on the team left behind by Brendan Rodgers when he left the Liberty for Anfield.
“It’s been a great start for Liverpool but Swansea will be a big test for them,” said Rush.
“I know Brendan took them to the Premier League and to a higher level, but I think Michael has taken it on.
“To get them into Europe is really something, a fantastic feat. But the best thing for me about Swansea is every step they’ve still played good football.
“I’ve watched them against Man United and in the end they got beat, but they played some good football and didn’t try to be something they’re not.
“That’s what I like about them, they stick to their philosophies no matter who they are playing and it works for them. They had a good win away from home against West Brom so they will be looking forward to it. They’ve beaten us before so it will be an interesting game.”
He predicted big things for Swansea in the Europa League, although he said it would be difficult for the team to be at their best in all the competitions they played in.
They play their first group stage game away to Valencia on Thursday.
“Anything’s possible, but you have to be realistic,” he said.
“It’s the same with Liverpool. They can win the league but realistically they have to be looking at top four.
“It’s the same with Swansea. I think they maybe over-achieved last year, but they have a great chance in Europe and cups are great because supporters want to win trophies.
“There’s no reason why they can’t have a real run. It will be difficult to maintain standards every week in both competitions.
“But Europe is massive for Swansea and it’s good for the Welsh lads there because they are learning about international football every time they play. It’s great for them all.”
Rush described Laudrup as a perfect fit for Swansea when he was first appointed manager.
He said at the time: “I think it’s a good appointment.
“Michael was a fantastic player and he gets his teams to play attacking football.
“Swansea played lovely football last season and I’m sure Michael will want to continue that.
“He’ll take no adjusting at all — Danish players such as Jan Molby and Peter Schmeichel tend to fit right in.
“Michael’s English is excellent and, having already played and managed in Italy and Spain, he has experience of football in a number of countries.”
HERE'S SOME VIDEO OF THE JUVENTUS TEAM OF 87-88 WHICH FEATURED IAN RUSH AND MICHAEL LAUDRUP: