Aston Villa have named Steven Gerrard as their new manager on a three-and-a-half year contract.
Gerrard’s appointment comes just days after Dean Smith was sacked following a run of five consecutive defeats, which left Villa sat 16th in the Premier League and two points above the relegation zone.
Speaking about his decision to sign for Villa , 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.”
Gerrard has already spoken with club owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens and other Board members of whom he praised for showing “ambitious” plans for the club and cannot wait to help Villa “achieve their aims.”
Since retiring as a player in 2016, Gerrard has worked as a Academy Coach for Liverpool before spending the last three-and-a-half years at Rangers, where he took the Glasgow based club to the Scottish Premiership title last season.
Paying tribute to Rangers fans, Gerrard commented: “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.”
Villa CEO, Christian Purslow meanwhile is “delighted” on behalf of the club to welcome Gerrard to Villa Park and praised him for his work with “top young players” at Liverpool, which is something which Villa are keen on developing following breakthrough performances from Jacob Ramsey and Jaden Philogene-Bidace amongst others this season.
Explaining the decision to appoint Gerrard as manager, Purslow said: “It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven’s coaching ambitions, philosophy and values entirely match those of Aston Villa.”
Gerrard’s debut as Aston Villa manager will take place at Villa Park on Saturday 20 November in an untelevised 3pm kick-off against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Gerrard will first come up against his former team – Liverpool on Saturday 11 December in another 3pm kick-off, which won’t be televised, with the return fixture at Villa Park scheduled for weekend of 15-18 April 2022 as the Reds seek revenge for their shock 7-2 loss in the West Midlands last season.
“He has provided us all with some unforgettable moments,”
Rangers released a public statement warmly praising Gerrard for his efforts over the last three-and-a-half years and wish him ‘every success in the future.’
Gers Chairman, Douglas Park also issued the following reaction to Gerrard’s departure, as he said: “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.”
Rangers’ Sporting Director, Ross Wilson meanwhile thanked the 41 year-old for his “work, dedication and professionalism” throughout his time at Ibrox, which Wilson believes has “ensured that the club is undoubtedly in a better place today than it was three-and-a-half years ago.”
Wilson also spoke about a shared desire of both himself and Gerrard in their effort to “modernise” Rangers which has been successful with so much progress made, but he has vowed to continue that progress without Gerrard
Looking back on their success together since Wilson first joined the club in his role in 2019, Wilson commented: “Personally, I am proud of the work that we have done together along with all of the players and staff, and I know Steven shares that pride. We wish Steven nothing but success for his next chapter.”