Gerrard learns first competitive opponents as Rangers draw Shkupi in Europa League

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The manager now knows who his first adversaries will be when he makes his debut as manager of the Scottish Premiership side

Steven Gerrard will begin his Rangers managerial career with a match up against FK Shkupi in a Europa League preliminary round contest.

The Liverpool legend was appointed head coach to the Scottish Premiership club after a year in charge of the Reds' Under-18 side for the 2017-18 season, and last week learned the order in which he'll face his new rivals in Scotland's top-flight, opening their domestic campaign against Aberdeen on August 5.

But with the compeletion of the Europa League preliminary first and second round draw, Gerrard now knows he will face last season's fourth place side in Macedonia's top-flight in his first competitive fixture as Rangers boss.

The first leg of the playoff will take place on July 12 at the Ibrox Stadium with the return leg scheduled to take place a week later in Skopje.

Provided Rangers advance, the club will either face Moldovan side CS Petrocub  or Croatian club NK Osijeck in the second preliminary round.

Meanwhile, one of Gerrard's former coaches believes the retired midfielder has the qualities necessary to become a strong head coach in the future.

Former United States national team boss Bruce Arena managed Gerrard for a season and a half with the LA Galaxy after the midfielder departed Liverpool for the MLS side in 2014.

Though Gerrard was unable to match the levels of success for the Galaxy that he had previously enjoyed at Anfield, Arena believes that his former player has the character traits necessary for success and received valuable experience in the U.S. that helped going forward. 

"Well being a manager or a coach at any level requires some experience. Steven Gerrard's only a couple years out of playing, he's had some time at the academy level at Liverpool. I think in time he can become a strong manager," Arena told Omnisport when promoting his new book.

"I think Rangers are a club with a lot of tradition in Scotland, as of late they have not been a strong club - they were relegated some years ago because I think of some financial irregularities, I'm not exactly sure.

"But now they're back in the first division, they're way behind Celtic but it's going to be Steven's job to get them back up and competitive with Celtic.

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"I think Steven Gerrard's always wanted to stay involved in the sport his whole life. His background is a strong one as a player, got some good experience in the United States as well, it helps him grow.

"It remains to be seen what he'll be like as a manager but one would think he's got a lot of the characteristics you need to be successful."

Outspoken, honest, and game changing—Bruce Arena’s memoir What's Wrong with US? is available now wherever books are sold. For more information, visit https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062803948/whats-wrong-with-us/.

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