Liverpool coach has 'no doubt' Gerrard is ready for Rangers challenge

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The former England international has the qualities to ensure he is a success at Ibrox, where a former colleague believes he will have a "big impact"

Steven Gerrard’s man-management skills will ensure he is a success at Rangers, according to the man he replaced as Liverpool’s U18 coach last summer.

Gerrard’s appointment at Ibrox was confirmed on Friday, the Reds legend signing a four-year contract which will begin on June 1.

Neil Critchley has seen first-hand the way Gerrard has thrown himself into his coaching career since returning to Liverpool’s Academy in January 2017. And the current Reds U23 manager has no doubt that the former England captain has what it takes to be a success up in Scotland.

“I've got no doubt that he's ready for it,” Critchley said. “Managing at that level is about dealing with players and that is one of Steven's biggest qualities. I've seen it, I've been in and around it.

“If he takes those qualities into management then he will certainly have a big impact on the players at Rangers.”

Gerrard said his goodbyes at Kirkby ahead of his unveiling at Ibrox, and is expected to take three member of Liverpool's Academy staff with him. Tom Culshaw and Jordan Milsom will follow from the U18s setup, while Michael Beale, the respected head of coaching at foundation level, is also set to move north. Gerrard's assistant will be Gary McAllister, the former Reds favourite.

He heads north of the border after a productive year coaching Liverpool’s U18s, and Critchley believes the experience will stand him in good stead, despite the obvious challenges which come with a club of Rangers’ size and stature.

“I think he has learned a lot over the course of this season and he's done a fantastic job with our under-18s,” Critchley said. “He obviously feels that this is the next step for him.

“As the manager said the other day, all the staff at Liverpool will support Steven in what he wants to do. He has chosen to go to Rangers and we wish him all the success in the world.

Liverpool U18s completed their league season with a 2-0 defeat at Manchester City last week, finishing the campaign third in the Premier U18 League table.

Several of Gerrard’s players have seen their development soar this season, with midfielders Curtis Jones and Rafa Camacho promoted to the first team in recent weeks and others joining Critchley’s U23 setup.

“Their season is done so some of them will join up with us,” Critchley added. “We have a few games left so we'll join up together for the last couple of weeks.”

Speaking at his first press conference, Gerrard described the chance of moving to Rangers as “a no-brainer” and revealed he had “a special feeling” from the moment he was approached by the Scottish Premiership outfit.

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“The most important thing is the opportunity and the challenge,” he added. “I wish I could get rid of the next four or five weeks because I can’t wait to meet all the players.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool will prepare for another summer of restructuring at Academy level.

No decision has been taken yet as to who will replace Gerrard as U18s coach, though the likes of Barry Lewtas, the U16s coach, will come into consideration. Critchley, too, would be a potential candidate having performed well in the role prior to Gerrard’s arrival, while another Kop legend, Robbie Fowler, will be a strong contender too.

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