Steven Gerrard has been unveiled as the new Aston Villa boss after calling time on his managerial spell with Rangers.
Villa confirmed this morning that the Liverpool legend had signed a long-term deal to replace Dean Smith, who was sacked last this week following a run of five successive league defeats.
Gerrard emerged as the frontrunner for the job soon after Smith’s sacking with owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, along with chief executive Christian Purslow, keen to prise him away from Scotland.
‘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 told Villa’s official wesbite.
‘In my conversations with Nassef, Wes 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.’
Villa chiefPurslow said it was ‘clear’ that Gerrard’s ‘ambitions, philosophy and values’ matched those of the club during their talks.
‘The board of Aston Villa are delighted to appoint Steven as our new head coach,’ he stated.
‘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.
‘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 Sawiris and Wes Edens took over the club in 2018.’
Rangers had been reluctant to part with their manager but on Wednesday agreed to let him hold talks with Villa after the Midlands club made their interest known with the Scottish champions understood to be receiving around £3m in compensation.
The former Liverpool captain is also expected to take the majority of his backroom staff with him with Gary McAllister, who has previously worked at Villa under Gerard Houllier, and Michael Beale joining.
The 41-year-old has worked wonders in Glasgow ever since taking charge in 2018 in what was his first job as manager.
Having finishing second in each of his first two seasons, his third campaign finally saw him guide Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years and end Celtic’s dominant spell.
Gerrard leaves Rangers with his side top of the table, four points clear of Celtic and takes over an Aston Villa team in 16th position, two points above the relegation zone.
The former England midfielder won’t have long to train with his players once they return from international duty ahead of their next game against Brighton on Saturday, November 20.
Gerrard will also soon be preparing for an emotional return to Anfield when the two sides meet on Saturday, December 11.
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