Steven Gerrard’s appointment as Rangers boss in the spring of 2018 took many by surprise, both south and north of the England-Scotland border. Gerrard hadn’t been in the hot seat before at a club and only had a limited spell as an academy coach at Liverpool before Dave King, then Rangers’ CEO, asked him to manage the Glasgow giants.
In fact, the seed was sown in King’s mind during late 2017 when the ex-England captain took his Liverpool academy side to play a Rangers development team. Gerrard’s young troops would run out 4-1 winners on the day but before he departed for Liverpool, and chatted with King about the ex-Liverpool players’ hopes for the future in management. King even joked that he may give him a call in the future. As it turned out, the Rangers chairman only waited seven months to officially offer Gerrard the job.
Too Good to Miss
Naturally, Gerrard couldn’t say no to an opportunity of this magnitude, particularly as it was his first one in management. Indeed, it came at a time when the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ of England players were landing cushy managerial jobs without having built up the supposedly required profile of work yet. This obviously led to a great deal of cynicism when the news broke that Gerrard was going to manage Rangers.
But King knew he had found his man despite iconic figures like Kenny Dalglish advising the Rangers CEO to give the job to someone with more experience. It was Gerrard’s insatiable appetite for winning that convinced King that he would be the right man to change the ethos at Ibrox and stop Celtic from winning ten league titles in a row.
The rest, as they say, is history, with Gerrard fulfilling that remit in his third season as he guided Rangers to their 55th league title. Gerrard’s detractors well point to the fact that Celtic imploded but that unjustly diminishes just how much the 40-year-old had to overcome at Ibrox.
Indeed, it’s easy to forget that Celtic were the favorites to be the outright winners of the SPL at the start of the 2020/2021 season, with many hopeful fans placing their bets behind them. The popular choice was the outright winner market, flocking to sites like asiabet.org to bet on the winner of a match, cup competition, or league. Without question though, there was good reason to believe that Celtic would for all intents and purposes romp to the title for the tenth straight year which made that bet, and fan’s hopes, well-placed and informed.
It goes without saying but Gerrard had a mountain to climb to in order to finally stop the momentum of Rangers’ greatest rivals. It is often forgotten but it was only once Rangers began to pull away in the league that Celtic began to lose their way in a rather dramatic fashion. So with Gerrard now having completed the mission, he was assigned back in 2018, where does the 40-year-old go from here?
The lazy assumption would be Liverpool, given the long-standing ties that Gerrard has with the Anfield club. But there’s very little reason to believe that the current boss, Jurgen Klopp, will leave anytime soon. Furthermore, Klopp is revered by the Liverpool fans and is very much the man they want in the dugout. Basically, Gerrard will have to bide his time if he wants that job.
A Change in Opinion
But the fact of the matter is that the Rangers manager possesses the right tactical acumen and will be sought after down south in the English top-flight. Many chairmen in the Premier League will have taken note of Gerrard’s meticulous training sessions and unwavering commitment to giving everything for the cause. Gerrard has become renowned in Scotland for his uncompromising manner and often cuts an unhappy figure even if his team has managed to secure three points, as soccersouls.com alludes to here.
For the former Liverpool captain, it’s all about his players meeting the lofty standards that he set for himself during his playing days. Slowly but surely, we’re now seeing Steven Gerrard begin to add to the trophies he accumulated as a player with ones now won in management. It isn’t quite a case of Gerrard having his pick of clubs to choose from when the time comes to leave the Rangers. But chairman all over England can now see what Dave King saw back in 2017, that Gerrard is a born winner and won’t settle for anything less.