Steven Gerrard has been warned by Celtic legend John Hartson that taking the reins at Rangers will see him inheriting a “dire” and “embarrassing” side.
The former England captain will have no problem dealing with the level of expectation at an Old Firm giant, having spent his entire playing career at the highest level, but he is relatively untested in a coaching capacity.
A move to Ibrox has sparked a mixed reaction from those watching on from afar, and Hartson has now told Gerrard that he will face an almost impossible task in trying to bridge the gap between Rangers and arch-rivals Celtic – who have just secured a seventh successive Premiership title.
“Pep Guardiola couldn’t do that,” said the former Hoops striker after attending the PFA Scotland awards:
“Rangers are dire. They were embarrassing in the semi-final, their most senior players were embarrassing. Sunday [in a 5-0 defeat to Celtic], they were embarrassing.
“It’s a mismatch at the minute. Rangers are in turmoil, on and off the pitch. They need serious investment. They need a lot of things. Celtic are flying on and off the pitch. They are a long, long way behind.
“Steven Gerrard will look at that and he’ll say, if he takes Rangers, ‘I can only go one way, and that’s up’. They can’t get any worse. And that’s why if he took the job I don’t think it would do him any harm. He is going to a great club with huge backing, fans-wise.”
While warning Gerrard of the struggles he could face at Rangers, Hartson understands why a man taking his first steps down a managerial path would want to take on the challenge at such a prestigious club.
He added: “It’s up to Steven whether he wants to wait another four years and work with the young players at Liverpool.
“Maybe he might get an opportunity to manage the Liverpool first team, there are no guarantees, if Klopp decides to go away.
“I see it as a wonderful opportunity. He can only take them up, he can’t make them any worse.
“I think there will always be a place at Liverpool for Gerrard, so if he fails drastically like the last two managers, [Graeme] Murty and [Pedro] Caixinha, then I don’t think it will damage him too much. Because Pep Guardiola couldn’t improve Rangers at the minute. I don’t think they have the quality within that group.”