Aston Villa have appointed Steven Gerrard as their new Head Coach days after parting company with Dean Smith following fifive consecutive Premier League losses. The 41-year-old former England international who played for Liverpool and LA Galaxy led Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title last season in an invincible campaign and leaves Ibrox after nearly four years in charge.
"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," said Gerrard in an official statement. "In my conversations with Nassef (Sawiris), Wes (Edens) and the rest of 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."
Aston Villa Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Steven Gerrard as our new Head Coach. 🟣— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) November 11, 2021
Gerrard earned rave reviews for his achievements in Scotland with denying bitter rivals Celtic an historic 10th consecutive title and reaching the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League more than once of considerable significance given the stagnation of Scottish soccer on the continent before his arrival.
"The Board of Aston Villa are delighted to appoint Steven as our new Head Coach," said Villa CEO Christian Purslow. "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.
12 - During his entire @premierleague career, Steven Gerrard scored more goals against @AVFCOfficial (12) than any other side, including the first of his two top-flight hat-tricks back in March 2009. Prised. pic.twitter.com/bIpq9AgQnz— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 11, 2021
"It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven's coaching ambitions, philosophy and values entirely match those of Aston Villa. We are excited he has agreed to lead us in the next phase of our ambitious plans as we look to build on the progress made since Nassef and Wes took over the club in 2018."
Rangers also moved to thank Gerrard for his achievements in Glasgow with Chairman Douglas Park and Sporting Director Ross Wilson particularly grateful for the restoration job completed in their statement.
Gerrard takes over a Villa side 16th in the Premier League table after five consecutive defeats but with a talented squad which has yet to benefit from a fully fit roster this season. His first match in charge will be against Brighton and Hove Albion at Villa Park and the Villans travel to Anfield next month to take on his beloved Liverpool.
Club Statement:— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) November 11, 2021
The Birmingham-based giants will benefit from Gerrard's tactical versatility which was a major criticism of Smith's and he will also not have the luxury of being able to depend upon Jack Grealish which also became an issue for the previous Villa Park hotseat incumbent before and after the England international's move to Manchester City.
In Leon Bailey, Emiliano Buendia, Danny Ings, Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore, Gerrard will have some serious potential to tap into in the attacking third. The midfield is also crying out for some solid structure and a leaky defense needs some work too while the academy is extremely fruitful with Jacob Ramsey and Cameron Archer both making the leap this season.
While European qualification might seem like a far cry at present, there is still the potential to salvage an upper half of the table finish which would better Villa's final showing under Smith last season which looked at one point like it might finish with continental qualification.