STEVEN GERRARD thanked Rangers for giving him “the opportunity to manage” as he quit to take over as boss of Aston Villa on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The former Liverpool midfielder has replaced Dean Smith, who was sacked last weekend after a run of five successive defeats.

Compensation of between £3.25-£4million has bee agreed between the clubs for Gerrard and his assistant Gary McAllister.

The departing Govan gaffer said: “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.

“In my conversations with Nassef, Wes and the rest of the board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club.

“Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to wish the players, staff and supporters the very best for the future.”

TITLE WINNER…Steven Gerrard celebrates last season’s championship success.

Gerrard, 41, had been in charge at Iborx since June 2018 and led the club to their first title in a decade, but was in the Midland side’s sights once they had axed Smith following the 1-0 loss at Southampton, as Scotzine was one of the first to report.

Gerrard’s first match in charge will be the Premier League match against Brighton a week tomorrow.

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “Since moving into coaching after his illustrious playing career, Steven began by managing and developing top young players in the Liverpool FC academy which is experience we value highly at Aston Villa.

“It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven’s coaching ambitions, philosophy and values entirely match those of Aston Villa.

“We are excited he has agreed to lead us in the next phase of our ambitious plans as we look to build on the progress made since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens took over the club in 2018.”

Rangers said they “flourished” under Gerrard’s management and helped build “outstanding, highly competitive playing squad which is capable of both winning and entertaining on all fronts”.

Chairman Douglas Park said: “I would firstly like to put on record my thanks to Steven for his outstanding efforts over the last three-and-a-half years at Rangers.

“He has provided us all with some unforgettable moments, not least his delivery of the Scottish Premiership title back to Ibrox last season having not lost a match in the entire league campaign.

“In European competition, he has restored the good name and credibility of our club on the continent and leaves us in a very healthy position on the pitch.”

Rangers are now acively looking for someone to take charge of the team for the Premier Sports League Cup semi-final against Hibs at Hampden a week on Sunday.

Former Ibrox player and Aberdeen gaffer Derek McInnes is among the frontrunners.



About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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