CHRIS Kirkland believes Roberto Martinez would live to regret not taking up the opportunity to manage ‘a massive club’ like Liverpool.
The 31-year-old played under Martinez for three seasons at Wigan before joining Sheffield Wednesday this week.
He’d prevously spent five years at Anfield, where he was once rated the long-term answer to England’s goalkeeping problems, before injuries intervened.
Kirkland, who cost a British record £6m when he signed from Coventry, admits he would have left the Sky Blues for any other club other than the Reds, his boyhood heroes.
And he insists the feeling of ‘what might have been’ could forever haunt Martinez if he does not accept the challenge of succeeding Kenny Dalglish.
Kirkland told the Evening Post: “What he’ll be thinking to himself is: ‘Will I get this opportunity again?’
“The Liverpool job is still one of the biggest in the world – and it doesn’t get offered to you every day.
“It’s a massive job, and it will be a massive opportunity for somebody.
“Whether that will be Roberto remains to be seem.
“But my gut feeling is that he’ll go – there’s been too much speculation for far too long for something not to be happening.”
Martinez yesterday met representatives from Fenway Sports Group, the owners of Liverpool, in Miami to discuss the managerial vacancy.
The meeting was sanctioned by Dave Whelan, who had previously stated that the Spaniard would be in Barbados on holiday until the beginning of next week.
All that changed when Martinez telephoned Whelan to inform him of his desire to travel to Florida to meet representatives from FSG.
But the Wigan chairman reckons Martinez will only accept the Liverpool job if he is given complete managerial control.
“Roberto likes total control, from the youngsters at 16 to the first team,” said Whelan.
“If he doesn’t get that, I don’t think he will take the job.My information is that the new Liverpool manager will not be given full responsibility of the football department.
“There will be somebody else signing players, and they might not necessarily be the choice of the manager.
“My advice to Roberto is to think very carefully about this, but Liverpool are a big club and I hope that they remain one of the big clubs.
“I’ve asked Roberto to make his mind up as soon as possible.
“Hopefully he will stay with us, but we will wait and see.”
FOR ALL THE LATEST ON THE MARTINEZ SAGA FOLLOW OUR MAN @PaulKendrickWIG ON TWITTER