Ex-Liverpool defender eyes ‘fresh start’ under Gerrard

Ian Watson

New Rangers defender Jon Flanagan is targeting a fresh start in Glasgow following the off-field issues that brought an end to his spell at Liverpool.

The 25-year-old full-back will be reunited with Steven Gerrard after signing a two-year deal with the Ibrox club following his release earlier this summer.

Flanagan, capped once by England, featured regularly alongside Gerrard at Liverpool and has now been offered the chance to rebuild his reputation under the former midfielder.

As well as suffering a number of injury problems throughout his career, Flanagan was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and given a 12-month community order earlier this year following an incident in December.

The defender is hoping the move to Scotland can help him move on, and he told RangersTV: “I think this is a fresh start and I think it a platform for me to build on.

“The past is the past and this is now time for a fresh start, and that is at Rangers and I can’t wait to get going.”

Gerrard has now made seven signings since starting his first senior management role, and Flanagan admits the presence of his former team-mate made the decision simple.

“When I got the call off my agent and then spoke to Stevie, I think it was a no-brainer for me,” he added. “I’m just delighted to be here and hopefully I can show all the fans what I’m about.

“I played with him at Liverpool for many years and I think he was a big part of me coming here.

“I know a lot about the club but Stevie was a massive influence on me coming here.”

Rangers were drawn to face Macedonian side Shkupi in the first round of Europa League qualifying – the first of four potential rounds en route to a possible spot in the group stages of this year’s competition – and Flanagan is confident the club is on the way up after a tough few years.

“Europe is a big attraction as well, and it’s an extra bonus for the lads to work hard, to push on and get back into the European group stages,” he said.

“I think it is very exciting for Rangers now. There is the new manager, who has freshened things up, and he’s brought a lot of players in. It’s brilliant to be a Rangers fan now and to be a Rangers player.

“There are good times ahead, and hopefully we can push on now.”