Rangers' Steven Gerrard: Experience 'not an issue' in first managerial role
Rangers appointed Steven Gerrard to his first senior management job on Friday, but the Liverpool legend is confident his lack of first-team managerial experience will not be an issue with the Scottish giants.
Gerrard signed a four-year deal as Rangers coach and held his first news conference at the Ibrox Stadium on Friday after a week of negotiations with the Premiership club, who prepared for his appointment by sacking caretaker manager Graeme Murty on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old said he will take over at the new club at the beginning of next month after completing his commitments as Liverpool's under-18s coach -- his only managerial experience since retiring as a player in 2016.
"It's not an issue for me," Gerrard said of his inexperience as a coach. "It seems to be an issue for other people, but I can't control that. I respect everyone's opinion. I've been around a big football club for a long time. I've been around big football matches. I've watched big managers perform and I've worked under big managers.
"I can't do nothing about having no experience from where I sit right now, and there's only one way to gain that experience. You have to believe in yourself that you have the right characteristics to go in and take on a challenge head-on. One day I will be experienced, for sure, and I've got confidence that this opportunity certainly will help."
Rangers sacked Murty earlier this week following a 5-0 defeat to bitter rivals Celtic, who secured their seventh consecutive league title in the process. Murty himself was appointed after Pedro Caixinha was sacked in October after just seven months in the role.
"From the very beginning, talks have been extremely positive and we believe that Steven is the right man to drive Rangers forward," Rangers chairman Dave King said in a statement.
Gerrard said he was honoured to manage Rangers, who won the most recent of their 54 league titles in 2011.
"When the call came off Liverpool with the opportunity to speak to Rangers, it was a no-brainer for me," Gerrard said. "I got a different feeling in my stomach from the previous opportunities I had in terms of being a No. 1 manager, so yeah, there were a lot of things to think about, but from that phone call, I got a special feeling and I knew that Rangers was for me."
Gerrard confirmed that former Liverpool teammate and Scotland international Gary McAllister would join him on the Rangers coaching staff, with other appointments to be named in the coming days.
McAllister's presence, Gerrard said, will help overcome any perceived lack of managerial experience -- though chairman Dave King said at the news conference that Gerrard's lack of familiarity worked in his favour in the hiring process.
"What I liked about Steven when Mark first initially said to me, 'What about Steven Gerrard as an idea?' -- clearly he hadn't managed before, but that's the only box that he didn't tick," King said. "Every other box, he did tick -- competitive, ability, a winner. He was ticking all of the boxes other than experience.
"But, having said that, if I looked at -- and no disrespect, and no individual names, but I looked at a lot of the other mangers who were being put forward to us over the last couple of months, they had that experience, but a lot of that experience wasn't necessarily good. The reason that they were available is because previous clubs failed and they weren't performing well."
Gerrard never won a Premier League title in his 17 seasons at Liverpool, but he captained the team to Champions League glory in 2005. He was also part of teams that won UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup and League Cup titles.
The closest Gerrard came to winning the Premier League was in 2014 as runner-up in a Liverpool team managed by Brendan Rodgers -- now his counterpart at Old Firm rivals Celtic.
"I haven't spoken to Brendan recently regarding this role at all, but me and Brendan are fine," Gerrard said. "We always have been fine and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
He also said he didn't want to go into the challenges that Rangers face -- they are third in the Premiership, with a number of players on loan from other clubs -- but said that he has been assured by the club hierarchy that he will be given the resources to compete.
As for the pressure that he faces in the role, Gerrard said that's exactly what he has been missing since his retirement as a player.
"Now, being Rangers manager, I know it's going to come," he said. "I know there will be a lot of scrutiny and a lot of pressure, but that's what I love about being in football."
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