'Massive impact on Liverpool's Curtis Jones' - Why Steven Gerrard can man-manage his way to success at Aston Villa
Steven Gerrard is synonymous with the Premier League, as a player. Now the man with 504 English top-flight appearances is back, and looking to make his mark as a manager, having taken charge of Aston Villa.
Here are five facts about Gerrard’s managerial career so far.
Predictably, the Liverpool legend started his coaching career as a youth coach at his beloved Liverpool.
Having impressed manager Jurgen Klopp, he was handed the reigns as Under-19’s manager, and enjoyed a relatively successful tenure, boasting a record of picking up 2.25 points per game.
Gerrard also impressed with his man-management skills with his youth side. Speaking to BBC, Mark Lawrenson commented on his work with now Liverpool first team player Curtis Jones: "If you ask someone like Curtis Jones at Liverpool, he will say that Steven had a massive impact on him while coaching the under-19s.”
The fact that Jones is now having an influence on Liverpool’s first team, and breaking into their starting 11, is testament to Gerrard’s coaching. Despite only a short time as Liverpool’s under-19’s boss, it’s clear to see why Rangers were interested in him.
In his first season at Rangers, Gerrard’s side beat bitter rivals Celtic for the first time in the league since 2012. Despite winning only two of his first seven games in charge, and a lacklustre title-challenge in his debut season, it was clear to see Gerrard was capable of building something.
This displayed to the Rangers faithful in the form of a one nil win in the Old Firm. The win signalled a turning point in Rangers’ recent fortunes; the club’s well documented struggles being relegated to the Scottish third division, having then returned to the Scottish Premiership in 2016, seemed over, with Gerrard giving them the belief they could overcome Celtic once more.
3. Number 55
Gerrard won Rangers' 55th Scottish Premiership. Last season, what would be his last full season in charge of the club, Gerrard showed his managerial skill, and potential, with his tenure at Rangers culminating in winning the league for the first time in 10 years.
To make this even more impressive, his side were unbeaten in the league all season. Even sweeter for Ranger’s fans is that their title win stopped Celtic from winning their 10th Scottish championship in a row.
With a whopping 102 points in first place, Rangers won the league at a canter, a huge gulf of 25 points between them and rivals Celtic in second.
4. Record breaker
The English manager’s Ranger’s side broke the records for least goals conceded in a league season, only conceding 13 goals, Celtic previously held the record with 18 goals conceded, and also breaking Celtic’s record of 25 clean sheets in a campaign, managing 26.
It’s clear to see how Gerrard’s side managed to stay unbeaten all season; the former Ranger’s boss running a defensively disciplined ship, his side becoming one of the greatest in Scottish Premiership history. In addition to this, Gerrard’s side still managed to score 92 goals across the season, averaging 2.4 goals a game.
Although the Scottish league is not of the calibre of the Premier League, the Premier League legends time there has been hugely impressive, and he has fully deserved the chance Aston Villa have given him in the Premier League.
5. Now for Brighton
On the 11th November, Gerrard was appointed manager of Aston Villa. As a result of his impressive managerial displays across the border, Villa fans will be delighted with the appointed, and will forgive their new boss for the 13 goals scored against them from his time at Liverpool.
The club sit 16th in the league, with Gerrard returning to the Premier for the first time since launching his managerial career, being given a tough job to do, his new side having lost seven of their opening 11 games this campaign.
His first game comes with Brighton’s trip to Villa Park. Brighton sit 7th in the league, but their great start to the season has slowed, with four draws and a loss in their last five league games; the visitors will be hoping to build some momentum again.
Gerrard’s side lost this fixture last season, with Brighton picking up four points against their next opponents, and so will be full of confidence going into the game, but will be wary of the new manager boost the Villa players will surely benefit from.