Aston Villa appoint Liverpool legend Gerrard as new manager as he leaves Rangers

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has left his post at Rangers to become Aston Villa's new permanent manager.

Villa have moved quickly to secure their next head coach after deciding to sack Dean Smith following the team's 1-0 loss to Southampton last week.

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez had also been linked with the role, but Gerrard has now stepped into the dugout at Villa Park, committing to an initial two-and-a-half-year contract.

What has been said?

Gerrard told his new club's website:  “Aston Villa has a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new head coach.

“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.”

Villa CEO Christian Purslow said: “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.”

In a statement announcing Gerrard's departure, Rangers said: "Gerrard moves to the Midlands having played a key role in the significant growth of the Light Blues in numerous areas during his three-and-a-half years at Ibrox.

"Rangers now has an outstanding, highly competitive playing squad which is capable of both winning and entertaining on all fronts, with the highest of standards now also prevalent throughout the football department.

"Rangers Football Club would like to put on record their thanks to Steven and his staff and wish them every success in the future. They will always be welcome at Ibrox."

Gerrard's credentials

Former Liverpool captain Gerrard, who spent nearly all his playing career at Anfield, has decided the time is right to return to the Premier League after three years in charge of Scottish champions Rangers.

The 41-year-old delivered the club's first Premiership title in 10 years last season as they clinched the trophy without losing a single game.

Gerrard leaves Rangers in a strong position to retain their crown in 2021-22, and boasts a record of 124 wins, 41 draws and just 27 losses from his 192 games at the helm.

How big a task does he face at Villa?

Gerrard will likely face a far sterner test at Villa, who are currently languishing 16th in the Premier League after 11 games.

Villa have lost their last five on the bounce and summer signings such as Emiliano Buendia, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey have failed to hit the ground running.

They have struggled for a creative spark since Jack Grealish's £100 million move to Manchester City, and Gerrard will be expected to solve that problem and carry the team back into the top half.

The Englishman will hope to get off to the perfect start when his new team host Brighton on November 20.

When do Aston Villa face Liverpool?

There will, of course, be an element of intrigue for when Gerrard's Villa meet Liverpool, with the two sides yet to have faced each other in the 2021-22 season.

The first meeting between the two clubs will take place on December 11, and will see Gerrard make an emotional return to Anfield, where he will undoubtedly receive a rapturous welcome.

As for the return clash at Villa Park, Jurgen Klopp's Reds travel to the Midlands on April 16, 2022, although that date could be moved to allow for television coverage.

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