Aston Villa appoint Steven Gerrard as manager

Former Liverpool midfielder leaves his role as Rangers coach to replace Dean Smith

Steven Gerrard has been appointed as the new manager of Aston Villa in place of Dean Smith, who was sacked on Sunday.

Gerrard, 41, had earned praise for steering Rangers to their first Scottish title in a decade last season, after replacing Graeme Murty in 2018, and was the clear favourite to take over at Villa.

Gerrard, whose contract at Ibrox was until 2024, had been left frustrated by Rangers' lack of progress in Europe after they crashed out of the Champions League qualifying rounds in August. Now, he faces the task of rescuing Villa, who currently sit 16th in the Premier League table after five straight losses.

In a statement on the club's website following his appointment, Gerrard said: “Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new head coach.

“In my conversations with the board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club. Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to wish the players, staff and supporters the very best for the future.”

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Villa CEO Christian Purslow added: “Since moving into coaching after his illustrious playing career, Steven began by managing and developing top young players in the Liverpool FC Academy which is experience we value highly at Aston Villa.

“He then took the brave decision to test himself in the intense and high pressured environment of the Scottish Old Firm. His subsequent achievement in winning the Premiership title with Glasgow Rangers really caught our eye as did his experience in Europe.

“It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven’s coaching ambitions, philosophy and values entirely match those of Aston Villa."

Rangers expressed their gratitude to Gerrard and his backroom staff and wished them future success.

Ibrox chairman Douglas Park said in a statement: "I would firstly like to put on record my thanks to Steven for his outstanding efforts over the last three-and-a-half years at Rangers.

He has provided us all with some unforgettable moments, not least his delivery of the Scottish Premiership title back to Ibrox last season having not lost a match in the entire league campaign.

"In European competition, he has restored the good name and credibility of our club on the continent and leaves us in a very healthy position on the pitch."

Updated: November 11th 2021, 11:01 AM