Steven Gerrard is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Dean Smith at Aston Villa, and the opportunity to take over at Villa Park is one that he should grab with both hands…
Steven Gerrard is currently the manager of Rangers and is widely recognised for having done a wonderful job with the Scottish giants; in his three seasons north of the border, he has won one domestic trophy out of a possible nine. Thankfully for him, the one he did take home was the Scottish Premiership, denying Celtic their tenth league title in a row, which would have been an absolute disaster for the blue half of Glasgow.
To have only won one trophy in three seasons is a massive underachievement for either Rangers or Celtic, but stopping the Hoops from winning ten in a row, coupled with the work of his predecessors – in particular Pedro Caixinha – has made Gerrard untouchable at Ibrox.
A single league title in Scotland, as well as decent European success, is enough to make Gerrard the favourite for the Aston Villa job. If he wasn’t The Steven Gerrard, that would probably be unthinkable due to the lack of movement in the world-famous Ibrox trophy cabinet. He really should return to England while his stock is this high.
The job at Villa Park is a huge one. The Premier League outfit spent around £90m in the summer transfer window following their 11th-place finish last season. They did receive £100m for Jack Grealish, but it is fair to assume they would have spent that sort of money regardless of whether Manchester City met his release clause. Aston Villa are extremely ambitious, and sacking Smith after the excellent job he has done is just another indication of their desire to compete for European football.
It is a risk for Gerrard to take the job – if he is even wanted by the Villa board – but taking on any job is a risk. Staying at Rangers is a risk despite the comfort and security he has there, as the 41-year-old might not get offered the chance to manage a club the size of Aston Villa as long as he stays in Scotland. Taking over Liverpool seems written in the stars, but it would be naive of Gerrard to stay indefinitely at Ibrox in the hope that he is invited to take the Anfield hot seat. Look at Antonio Conte; you can’t hang about waiting for an offer that may or may not come.
The Aston Villa role has the potential to be an ideal stepping stone for Gerrard, if we presume that replacing Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool is his ultimate goal. Villa have a superb youth academy, a rich history and a deep squad. They could potentially finish in the top half under the right leadership, which arguably could have been Smith if he was given the rest of November to turn things around.
This season, Rangers’ performances have significantly dipped in comparison to last term. They went the whole league season unbeaten on course to their 55th league title, and lost on matchday two in 2021/22. The Europa League knockout stages may elude them after greater success in a tougher group last term. A domestic double is the minimum requirement this campaign, and such is the massive pressure of being Rangers boss, anything less will indicate the team are not progressing under Gerrard.
We’re not saying he needs to get out while he can, or anything of the sort, but the magnitude of the Aston Villa job should not be understated. This is a move Gerrard needs to make for the sake of his managerial career. It is forward motion and Gerrard of all people should understand the need for forward motion.