Steven Gerrard Becomes Aston Villa’s New Manager

Steven Gerrard enjoined huge success as a player with Liverpool. Photo: Aston Villa.

 

Aston Villa on Thursday announced Steven Gerrard as their new manager to replace the sacked Dean Smith.

The former Liverpool captain has left his role as Rangers boss to take the reins at the club, who have lost five straight Premier League matches.

Gerrard guided Rangers to a first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years last season, finishing the campaign undefeated in the league.

“The board of Aston Villa are delighted to appoint Steven as our new head coach,” said CEO Christian Purslow.

“He then took the brave decision to test himself in the intense and high pressured environment of the Scottish Old Firm. His subsequent achievement in winning the Premiership title with Glasgow Rangers really caught our eye as did his experience in Europe.”


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‘Club With A Rich History’

In this file photo taken on October 21, 2021 Rangers’ English manager Steven Gerrard gives an interview ahead of the UEFA Europa League group A football match between Rangers and Brondby at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

 

Gerrard is considered one of the greatest players in Premier League history, scoring 186 goals in 710 appearances for Liverpool.

However, this will be his first taste of management in the English top-flight.

“Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new head coach,” said Gerrard.

“It was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims.”

Villa are 16th in the Premier League after picking up 10 points in their first 11 games.

AFP

Rangers Win Scottish Premiership For First Time In 10 Years

Rangers fans celebrate with flags outside Ibrox Stadium, home of Rangers Football Club, in Glasgow on March 7, 2021 after their first Scottish Premiership title for 10 years was confirmed.
ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

 

Rangers’ first Scottish Premiership title for 10 years was confirmed Sunday after Celtic’s drew 0-0 at Dundee United to stand 20 points behind their Glasgow rivals with six games left to play.

Steven Gerrard’s men have stormed to the title without losing a game to end Celtic’s record-equalling nine consecutive Scottish league titles.

Rangers were not even in the top-flight for four of those seasons after the club was demoted to the fourth tier following liquidation in 2012 due to financial troubles.

“This club has been to hell and back over the past 10 years,” said Gerrard after Saturday’s 3-0 win over St Mirren put Rangers on the brink of a first major trophy since 2011.

“I’ve only been part of it for three, but I can certainly relate and I’ve got that feeling and that affection with the fans and I know what they have been through.”

rangers-international
Rangers fans celebrate with flags outside Ibrox Stadium, home of Rangers Football Club, in Glasgow on March 7, 2021 after their first Scottish Premiership title for 10 years was confirmed.
ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

 

The former England and Liverpool captain never won a league title during his legendary 17-year career at Anfield.

However, Gerrard has transformed Rangers’ fortunes, both domestically and in Europe, since taking his first senior managerial role in 2018.

The newly crowned Scottish champions have reached the last 16 of the Europa League for the second consecutive season and face Slavia Prague on Thursday.

 


Rangers were denied the chance to rub salt into Celtic wounds by winning the title at Celtic Park in two weeks’ time in their next league fixture.

Celtic dropped points for the 12th time in the league this season with caretaker manager John Kennedy taking charge for just the second time since Neil Lennon resigned last month.

The issues that have dogged Celtic all season cost them at Tannadice as they dominated but failed to find the net with 27 attempts on goal.

“Our objective was to get to 10, but Rangers have been better than us this season,” Kennedy told Sky Sports. “We’ve been champions for so long, but we’ve not been good enough this season.”

Thousands of Rangers fans ignored coronavirus restrictions to descend upon Ibrox on Saturday to get the title celebrations going early.

 

Rangers’ English manager Steven Gerrard gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, 2nd leg football match between Rangers and Royal Antwerp at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow on February 25, 2021.RUSSELL CHEYNE / POOL / AFP

 

“Once we got close or achieved our first big part of success together, which was always going to be the hardest, I had a good idea what the reaction would be like,” said Gerrard.

“I think what you’ve seen today is 10 years of what these supporters have been through. I’m delighted for them and really proud of the players efforts because they’ve been outstanding this season.

“From a league point of view, they’ve been close to perfect.”

The Scottish government condemned the scenes outside the stadium on Saturday and pleaded with supporters not to congregate again on Sunday.

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Justice Minister Humza Yousaf tweeted: “I understand Rangers fans will be desperate to celebrate but please remember you must stay at home.

“No mass gatherings are allowed. We cannot risk any further spread of the virus.”

AFP

Gerrard’s Rangers Move Ahead Of Beaten Celtic

Rangers’ players.                                                                                                 Photo:PAU BARRENA / AFP

 

Rangers’ rise under Steven Gerrard continued with a 5-1 thrashing of St Johnstone to move into second in the Scottish Premiership, while Celtic slipped to sixth after a 2-1 defeat at Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Stuart Findlay’s header deep into stoppage time at Rugby Park compounded Celtic’s awful start to the campaign.

A second defeat in the Scottish champions’ first six league games, after also failing to qualify for the Champions League, leaves Celtic six points behind early leaders Hearts.

“When you are a huge club, the demand is to win,” said Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

“In the last couple of years we’ve done that really well and playing in a style that is synonymous with the club. It hasn’t been the same but we have to work to make it better.”

Rodgers made six changes from the side that laboured to a 1-0 Europa League win over Rosenborg in midweek.

Leigh Griffiths was recalled to the starting line-up after coming off the bench to grab the winner against the Norwegian champions and his diving header put the visitors in front 11 minutes before half-time.

Celtic posted a record turnover of £100 million ($130 million) this week, but their failure to strengthen in the transfer window despite selling star striker Moussa Dembele to Lyon is already being exposed in their bid for an eighth straight Scottish title.

They have now scored just six times in their opening six games and rarely looked like adding to their lead before Chris Burke fired in off the post from 20 yards to bring Kilmarnock level.

Celtic continued to dominate possession without seriously threatening, and were caught again by a sucker punch in the 93rd minute when Findlay stooped to head Burke’s corner into the far corner, sparking wild scenes of celebration from Killie boss Steve Clarke.

In four meetings with Rodgers since Clarke took charge just under a year ago, Kilmarnock have now beaten and drawn with Celtic twice.

Rangers took full advantage to close to within five points of Hearts as they showed no hangover from an impressive 2-2 draw at Villarreal in the Europa League on Thursday.

Captain James Tavernier curled home a free-kick to open the scoring before Alfredo Morelos doubled the hosts’ advantage at Ibrox.

Scott Arfield, Kyle Lafferty and Daniel Candeias were also on target after the break, while Blair Alston scored a consolation for the Saints from the penalty spot.

AFP

Rodgers Pleased With New Signings

RodgersLiverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers is optimistic that the new players signed by the club will help the team compete for major titles this season despite the record sale of Raheem Sterling.

The club have already signed Adam Lallana and are on the verge of adding Aston Villa top hit man Christian Benteke to their line up.

Rodgers believes Sterling’s move will not affect the team and described the 20-year-old as a talented footballer.

Aston villa striker Christian Benteke has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool, who now have money in their pocket following the sale of Sterling to Manchester City in a deal worth up to 49 million pounds.

The Reds are closing in on Benteke who has a 32.5 million pound buyout clause in his contract.

However Aston Villa manager, Tim Sherwood reiterated the club’s stance that he would not be leaving unless the clause was activated.

Rodgers Hails Gerrard’s Recovery After Penalty Miss

Gerrard
Steven Gerrard celebrates his winning goal during Liverpool’s English Premier League match against QPR at Anfield on May 2, 2015.

Liverpool Manager, Brendan Rodgers, has hailed the determination and quality of Steven Gerrard after the Liverpool captain recovered from a penalty miss to earn his team a 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers.

The Reds created a host of chances at Anfield and took a lead during the first half when Rickie Lambert expertly teed up Philippe Coutinho to send a curler beyond Robert Green.

But Leroy Fer levelled for the Londoners on 73 minutes and Gerrard was thwarted from 12 yards by a reflex save from the QPR goalkeeper in front of a stunned Kop.

But those same supporters were on their feet in the final moments as the No.8 leapt to meet Coutinho’s corner and glance a header home, securing all three points.

“It’s world-class talent,” said Rodgers to media after the match.

“There’s a very, very small group of players in that bracket, where in the big games they score the big goals and make the big contributions.

“He’s done that, everyone has seen that throughout his entire career at Liverpool.

“He missed the penalty and sometimes you think it may go against us, but there is no-one more determined to score and make up for it than Steven. It was a very, very good header.

“He was very determined, especially after the penalty. You sometimes find with a lot of players that when they miss a big penalty like that, normally their game goes and their confidence goes.

“But he’s the total opposite. He’s one of a unique group of players that whenever they need to respond, they normally do. It was an outstanding header and obviously gets us the win.”

Gerrard left the field to a standing ovation in the closing seconds, marking his penultimate Anfield appearance before he bids farewell to the club at the end of the season.

The personal joy he took from the winner was clear, as was the appreciation from every corner of the stadium, with the time to say emotional goodbyes moving ever closer.

Rodgers continued: “His career is probably all flashing before his eyes now.

“It was brilliant to get it at the Kop end as well – it was a really special moment for him. It all goes very quickly, but you can see he is still contributing at this level.

“There was no-one better, especially when he missed the penalty. I knew that if you keep him on, you’ve got every chance of getting a goal. He always steps up to the plate.”

The victory halted a disappointing run for the Reds.

In the two league matches since enduring the heartbreak of defeat at Wembley against Aston Villa, Rodgers’ side drew against West Bromwich Albion before losing out against Hull City at the KC Stadium earlier this week.

Rodgers concluded his press conference with a message of support for Rio Ferdinand and his family after the QPR defender confirmed the tragic news of the passing of his wife, Rebecca.

He said: “I’d just like to say one thing on behalf of us all here for Rio Ferdinand and his family. I think football was secondary today, with all due respect.

“This is a guy who has been an incredible player and today, when I was coming to the training ground, I heard the news about his wife.

“So on behalf of us here at Liverpool Football Club – the players, fans and the people of the city – we pass on our condolences and respect to him and his family.”

 

Culled from http://www.liverpoolfc.com