Steven Gerrard accepted a particularly high-pressured position for his first as a manager when in 2018 he agreed terms with Rangers to succeed the sacked Pedro Caixinha on a permanent basis. Such is the regard with which he is rightly held at Liverpool, he had already been considered a potential successor to Jürgen Klopp, whenever the time comes for the German to leave Anfield.
While it was under Gérard Houllier that Gerrard made his senior debut, in Rafa Benítez, Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers he worked with several highly-respected managers at Liverpool, and he was selected for England by Kevin Keegan, Sven-Göran Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and Hodgson. He also became captain for club and country, leading England at two World Cups and a European Championship, but will be as aware as any that success as a player – even one as proven as Gerrard – is no guarantee of success as a manager.
Rangers have for so long trailed Celtic as Scottish football’s leading power that he could not have been expected to help Rangers usurp their rivals in his first season in charge, but he did lead them to second place – their best finish since 2012. More recently, Rangers broke a Scottish record that had stood since 1906 by keeping seven clean sheets from their first seven league games of 2020/21. “I started explaining about the tactics I’d use at Liverpool,” Benítez once said of his former captain. “It was my first conversation with Steven and it was all about tactics. Stevie was keen. It was at the beginning for us, when he didn’t need to do it.”