‘He’s a natural’ – What they’re saying about Steven Gerrard the manager

Quick Reads
Steven Gerrard speaks to the media before Rangers' game against Brondby.

After his incredible playing career at Liverpool, Steven Gerrard enjoyed a promising start to his managerial career with Rangers

Gerrard led Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years in 2020-21 and has now returned to England with Aston Villa. 

We’ve taken a look at what players, pundits and managers have said about his work so far.

Alex McLeish

“Steven has done an amazing job. He’s got the gravitas and he’s a superb guy,” McLeish said in October 2019.

“You’d maybe think someone with such a huge, world-class reputation would come here and show an ego but no. He has been really humble, he has been brilliant in the press and I really think this is the man Rangers needed.

“I would never criticise fellow managers but this guy is pretty special and you can see that he wants to have a really successful managerial career just by what he has done already.”

Gordon Strachan

“I see a lot of Liverpool in Rangers,” Strachan said in December 2019. “Obviously not their tempo, fitness or technique, but the way Rangers play is definitely inspired by Liverpool.

“And that’s understandable, it’s clever – Steven’s had a look at what Klopp does and applied it at Rangers. He plays the Liverpool way, with brave, exciting football which is progressive, not tippy tappy that can send you to sleep.”

Tommy Wright

“Just like at Celtic, the target for Rangers is simple – win the league,” Wright told the Sunday Post in July 2020. “Steven will know that. That is what he was brought to the club for. I think he has done extremely well to date.

“He came in – a huge character with a big personality – and he gave the whole of Scottish football a lift.

“He has had Rangers playing attractive football, which is what you would expect given the quality that he has at his disposal. And they have done brilliantly in Europe.”

READ: Seven of Steven Gerrard’s best moments at Liverpool: FA Cup, Istanbul

Jermain Defoe

“He’s going to be a top, top, top manager,” Defoe told talkSPORT in March 2020. “It’s a funny one because when I signed for Rangers, obviously you have a bit of banter in the changing room and the lads saying about how I’m pals with the gaffer and stuff like that, but he’s a natural.

“In terms of management he’s still fresh and he’s new but you can see that naturally, he’s got everything. He always says to the players, ‘if you want to come speak to me about anything then my door is open.’

“He’s approachable, which is really important as a manager. Sometimes there’s stuff you want to talk about and you might have personal problems and you might have stuff you want to talk about but feel uncomfortable going to the manager.

“But with Steven, you can talk to him about anything. He reminds me a little bit of Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce where you can just approach them and speak about anything.”

Alfredo Morelos

“Steven Gerrard has been a brilliant manager for me,” Morelos said in August 2018. “I’m learning a lot from him and he’s been a great teacher for me. I am happy to have him as a manager because he’s helped me a lot.”

Pieter Huistra

“He’s doing a good job especially with the good players he has brought in,” Huistra told Express Sport in March 2019. “When I see him and when I hear him he sounds to me like a reasonable coach who always does and says the right things.

“He has his priorities right, he doesn’t try to talk to cleverly but sticks to his point and keeps it very straightforward. I think that is always a sign for the best coaches.

“Maybe behind closed doors you can go into more detail. Outside you should keep to it simple and stick to the main things you want to say. He is doing that well.”

READ: Fallen Giants: Remembering Rangers’ glorious era under Smith & Advocaat

Thomas Buffel

“He’s brought his football knowledge and his experience of a physical game to the team, which is key away from home, and it works,” Buffer told DH in October 2020.

“I met him a few months ago. He’s a gentleman and a winner. He’s demanding. I would have liked him to be my manager… and even more my team=-mate.”

Alan Brazil

“On the other side of Glasgow, no doubt about it, Steven Gerrard is stamping his authority,” Brazil told talkSPORT in October 2020.

“You look at the way he acts, he’s got the credentials to be a Liverpool manager. I think he’s building up to that.”

Jamie Carragher 

“There will be a clamour for probably a lot of people I think whenever Jurgen Klopp decides his time is up at Liverpool but hopefully that’s a long way away,” Carragher told the Liverpool Echo in November 2019.

“There’s no doubt Steven Gerrard will come into that because of the job he’s doing at Rangers but also because he’s a Liverpool legend.

“He’s doing a fantastic job at Rangers so that will certainly help him.”

READ: Where are they now? Liverpool’s XI on Steven Gerrard’s debut in 1998

Jamie Redknapp

“Stevie is in Scotland and doing well,” Redknapp told The Lockdown Tactics podcast in May 2020. “Yet, it’s not easy because Celtic are so strong. But Stevie has got it, you can see that.

“I think a few years at Rangers, and as long as he doesn’t make too many mistakes, it’s only a question of time before he manages Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp decides to go.”

Jason McAteer

“Steven Gerrard made a clever move going to Rangers to begin his management career – and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if stop two on his journey is Anfield,” McAteer told the Racing Post in November 2019.

“I’ve got an inkling that Gerrard will be the next Liverpool manager at the start of the 2021-22 season.”

Paddy Kenny

“He’s a class act. He was as a player too,” Kenny told Football Insider in May 2021 after Gerrard paid tribute to the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy. 

“He had his problems with a few sendings off as a player, but what a career he had. As a manager, he’s shown he’s got what it takes to go all the way to the top.

“I know Celtic have been poor but you’ve still got to go out and win. To get 96 points at this point is an amazing return.

“For him to touch on Hillsborough like that was a touch of class. You’d definitely be proud to have him as your manager.

“You’d love to go be on the training pitch with him, day in, day out.”

Sir Alex Ferguson

“He’s done magnificent. He really has, both on and off the field,” Ferguson told the Guardian in May 2021.

“A press interview can lose you your job in management. But Steven’s press conferences are fantastic. He’s cool, he’s composed, he gives the right answers. He’s really top because it’s an art.”

Glen Johnson

“Stevie showed great belief in himself to move away [to Rangers] and prove that he’s learned the game,” Johnson told Betting Expert in October 2021.

“Just because you’re a world-class player, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a world-class manager. So the fact he’s learned the game from the other side, he’s been confident in what he believes in, he’s got a good backroom team around him.

“So he’s done a fantastic job and I can’t think of any better young managers at the moment.”

Jurgen Klopp

“If Liverpool were to sack me tomorrow, then maybe Kenny would be the first choice to replace me, but they would probably bring Stevie down from Glasgow,” Klopp told FourFourTwo in September 2019.