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Ex-Man Utd ace Michael Carrick will know how tough management can be – look at Gerrard, Lampard and Parker

STEVEN GERRARD has been sacked, Scott Parker has been sacked and Frank Lampard is hanging on for dear life.

So good luck in this brutal management game, Michael Carrick.

Michael Carrick is set to take over at Middlesbrough

Carrick will become the fourth of England’s ‘golden generation’ midfielders to head into the hotseat when he takes over at Championship strugglers Middlesbrough.

And the Geordie, who had a brief spell as Manchester United’s caretaker boss last season, only needs to look at his peers to understand how tough a trade he is entering.

Not long ago, England’s leading players tended to ditch their boots and head straight for comfy TV sofas.

But Gerrard, Lampard and Parker have put their golden balls on the line — and are realising how big-name playing reputations count for little when the going gets tough, even after some early successes.

Gerrard won the Scottish title at Rangers, Parker secured promotions to the Premier League at Fulham and Bournemouth, while Lampard earned Champions League football for Chelsea despite a transfer embargo.

None of them are mugs but all are struggling to keep their careers afloat.

Just 11 months ago, Gerrard was appointed Villa boss, a gig seen as an audition to eventually succeed Jurgen Klopp at his beloved Liverpool.

Yet everyone who witnessed his team’s shambolic performance in Thursday’s 3-0 leathering by Fulham knew it was the end game.

Fulham fans sang: “You’re getting sacked in the morning” — but Gerrard didn’t even have that long. He was gone within an hour of the final whistle.

Villa, who boast England strikers Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins, and the creative abilities of Philippe Coutinho and Emi Buendia, have managed just seven goals in 11 Premier League games.

And his fate was sealed by the now overturned dismissal of Douglas Luiz at a time when Villa were already trailing 1-0 and being played off the park.

There had been plenty of talk that Michael Beale, the Scouser’s right-hand man at Ibrox and Villa, had been the brains of Gerrard’s operation.

Beale left to manage QPR this summer and the rookie boss is top of the Championship, having turned down Wolves, while his mate has floundered.

Will the 42-year-old former England captain now have to venture into the Championship to keep alive his managerial ambitions?

Another Premier League job doesn’t look likely after the dog’s dinner of Villa.

Gerrard’s former England team-mate Parker is also in an unenviable position.

Steven Gerrard was sacked by Aston Villa

Despite two promotions in two Championship campaigns, he is unloved at both Fulham and Bournemouth due to a cautious playing style and a tendency to fall out with owners.

Parker, 42, demanded more signings this summer, claiming his Bournemouth squad ‘could not compete’ in the top flight — only to see his former assistant Gary O’Neil guide them to a six-match unbeaten run as caretaker boss.

As for Lampard, well at least he is still in work but for how much longer?

Everton are just a point above the drop zone after three straight defeats and today’s visit from Crystal Palace looks almost as crucial as their meeting late last season which sealed the Goodison side’s escape from relegation.

Conor Coady and James Tarkowski have added defensive experience but ambitions are limited.

Managing in the Premier League is an unforgiving business. At any non-elite club, you’re aiming for mid-table. Fall just a handful of points short at any given time and you’re toast.

Others from that supposed Golden Generation have also had a stab at management — Gary Neville at Valencia and Paul Scholes at Oldham. Wayne Rooney and Phil Neville are now managing in Major League Soccer.

Some who worked with Rooney at Derby during their financial crisis last season are convinced England’s all-time record goalscorer will end up being the most successful manager from that group of former Three Lions players.

Yet you still have to wonder why wealthy men like these even bother pursuing managerial careers.

And whether they would privately advise Carrick to steer well clear of the whole shooting match.

Carrick will hope to perform better in management than ex-England team-mate Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker and Frank Lampard have this season

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