Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard was confirmed as the manager of Scottish club Rangers yesterday, with the former England midfielder signing a four-your deal at the club starting from June. This is the first managerial assignment for the player, after a storeyed career that saw him feature in over 700 games for The Reds and win over a 100 caps for The Three Lions. He was a captain at both entities, and will now look to take his leadership skills to Ibrox, where they are in genuine need of some revitalisation.
Rangers entered administration in 2012 and were placed in the third tier of Scottish football following their sale. They are now back in the top flight, but area shadow of their former selves. Celtic won their seventh consecutive title last week with a 5-0 win over Rangers. This fixture, known as the Old Firm derby, was once one of the most fiercely-contested rivalries in all of football, but now the gulf in class is apparent.
Gerrard’s arrival will surely add an oomph factor to the club, and help attract the quality of players they need to get back to their best. The 37 year-old has no managerial experience at the senior level, even though he has been in charge of the Liverpool Academy this season. He led the U-19’s to a famous 2-0 win over Manchester United in the round of 16 in the UEFA Youth League, before succumbing to Manchester City in the next round.
Celtic is managed by a man Gerrard knows very well, in Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irishman was in charge of Liverpool in the 2013/14 season, when Liverpool came within touching distance of winning the Premier League for the first time ever. But it was Gerrard who slipped at the pivotal moment in a game against Chelsea near the end of the season, paving the way for The Blues to win at Anfield and deliver a telling blow. The Reds went on to finish 2nd behind Manchester City, and haven’t come closer to winning the league since. It will be poetic if Gerrard stops Rodgers winning the title again, but this time it will be from the right i.e. the opposite side of the pitch.
Gerrard will surely be looking at Graeme Souness for inspiration, as the latter’s career did take a very similar path. The Scot, who spent seven seasons at Liverpool in the late 70’s, took charge of Rangers in 1986. At the time, football in the country, just like right now, was completely dominated by Celtic. With the Heysel disaster in the 1985 leading to a European ban for English clubs, Souness was able to prise away several top talents from the country to Scotland. In five years at Ibrox, he won three Scottish titles and four Scottish cups, completely turning the tide.
In 1991, after leaving his homeland, he came back to England as manager of Liverpool. Somewhere, we all know that there is Gerrard sees himself ending up ultimately and it would be, undoubtedly, a match made in heaven. At the moment though, The Reds are progressing by leaps and bounds under Jurgen Klopp, and it is upto Gerrard to prove himself and stack up his resume so he’s ready when the time comes.
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