Steven Gerrard has been explaining why he jumped at the chance to take another coaching “risk” at Aston Villa, with the Liverpool legend delighted to be back in the Premier League at a club that “sells itself”.
The former England captain had been cutting his managerial teeth at Old Firm giants Rangers, with a Scottish Premiership title secured at Ibrox in 2020-21.
He had previously spent time working in the youth system at Anfield and continues to see a return to his native Merseyside mooted, but for now his focus is locked on proving a point in the West Midlands.
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What has been said?
Discussing his decision to succeed Dean Smith with Villa’s official website and how he has progressed to this point, Gerrard has said: “For me, it was about starting from the beginning and putting the blocks in place; really learning from the start, going away from the cameras initially, taking the youth team at Liverpool, they were a big support to me.
"That gave me a couple of years of real pitch experience, to get comfortable preparing sessions, delivering sessions and leading the team.
“And then obviously the Rangers opportunity came, which was really big, again, another iconic club.
“And for me, I like a challenge, I like a risk, and it’s something I’m really looking forward to getting in to.
“I think this club will suit me because I know the fans are very passionate. I know there’s a demand and a pressure here to win, that’s something I’ve lived with since I was 17-18 years of age.
“So, for me, it’s about making everyone come together and be unified, and I believe we can do exciting things together.”
Why did Gerrard choose Aston Villa?
The 41-year-old had been with Rangers since 2018, helping to restore domestic dominance in Glasgow for a fallen giant.
He has now taken over at a club that finds itself at the wrong end of the Premier League table, with 10 points taken from 11 games in 2021-22, but Gerrard is looking forward to the challenge and believes he has chosen the right stepping stone.
“I think Aston Villa sells itself,” he added.
“An iconic football club that I know pretty well from the outside and I’m very much excited to get involved inside and start building relationships, get on the training pitch and get started.
“The excitement levels are really, really high. I’m very hungry, very ambitious and the start can’t come quickly enough.”
Gerrard’s first game in charge of Villa will see them take in a home date with Brighton on Saturday.