Steven Gerrard will be forever remembered by Rangers fans as the man that helped to stop Celtic from winning their 10th straight league title. He was able to lead his Rangers team to Scottish Premiership glory last season.
The former Liverpool midfielder is now back in the Premier League after Aston Villa snapped up his services to replace Dean Smith, who was dismissed following a poor run of results.
Gerrard had been linked with several jobs in the Premier League over the last couple of years, but he has finally got the chance to prove himself in one of the biggest leagues in Europe. Villa will be hoping he can help rescue their season.
The Midlands club decided against appointing a more experienced manager. Roberto Martinez, Nuno Espirito Santo and Kasper Hjulmand were all linked with the job. In Gerrard, they have a young and upcoming manager who has yet to fail in his short managerial career.
The biggest challenge Gerrard may face is that Villa are not one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, in modern terms at least. They are not even in the top six. At Rangers, he was one of the two biggest clubs in Scotland.
Gerrard will have ambitions of managing Liverpool one day. He could possibly be the man to take over from Jurgen Klopp when the German decides to walk away from Merseyside. This latest job allows him to gain some valuable experience in the Premier League before then.
Strong Squad for Gerrard to Work With
Although Aston Villa lost their best player last summer when Jack Grealish was sold to Manchester City, there is still a strong squad for Gerrard to work with. A lot of the money received from City was reinvested in a number of players, including Emiliano Buendia (£33 million), Leon Bailey (£30 million), and Danny Ings (£25 million). The Englishman has to get more from those players.
Under Smith, Villa have played a number of different formations this season, 3-4-1-2, 4-3-3, and 3-5-2. Gerrard often played 4-3-3 at Rangers and it is likely his new team will adopt that formation, particularly at home.
Villa lost their last five Premier League games under Smith so confidence will be low in the squad. Gerrard will need to try and lift his players and get them to believe in his philosophy. At the start of the season, the goal will have been to finish in the top six. They are now priced at odds of 33/1 at bet365 the betting among the leading bookmakers offering odds and free bet codes on the Premier League.
Similarities With Rangers Squad
There are some similarities between the new Villa squad he has inherited and that at Rangers. In Emiliano Martinez, he has one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. Gerrard was lucky to be able to rely on Allan McGregor in Scotland as he was a safe pair of hands between the sticks.
In Buendia, Bailey, and Anwar El Ghazi, Gerrard will have flair players who can support and assist Ollie Watkins or Ings. The former Rangers boss had a strong number of attackers who played that role in his Gers side.
Time will tell if this is a good move for Gerrard and Villa. If he does help the club to achieve its objectives, his stock will rise even further.