Aston Villa’s search for a successor to Dean Smith is seemingly taking them towards Steven Gerrard, with the Rangers boss heavily linked with the vacant position.
Smith parted company with the club on Sunday, three years after taking charge and having guided us on a journey of steady progression from Championship mediocrity to a solid mid-table Premier League side.
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However, five consecutive defeats prior to the latest international break were enough for the alarm bells to sound, and the Villa hierarchy opted to make a change.
That said, it evidently wasn’t one made with the knowledge that a replacement was already lined up, as we’re three days into our manager-less stint, and still awaiting official confirmation of an appointment.
As per the Telegraph, Villa are set to make an official approach for Gerrard this week, while the Rangers boss is said to be interested in making the move south. The question though is whether or not it would be a sensible decision from Villa to appoint him.
Gamble on Gerrard, but potential for high rewards
The 41-year-old former Liverpool midfielder enjoyed an exceptional playing career, as he produced at a high level year after year and won countless trophies at Anfield, so he knows all about having pedigree and experience.
The focus now though is on his managerial career thus far which has seen him spend the last three years at Rangers following a stint in charge of the youth team at Liverpool.
In those three seasons, he has won 125 of 193 games, giving him a win percentage of 64.77%, while his side went unbeaten in the league last year en route to winning the title.
A whole host of individual accolades followed for Gerrard as he enjoyed a memorable achievement, but jumping from that to the Premier League and with Villa ultimately in a precarious position right now, it’s a big gamble from the club’s hierarchy if the ex-England International is considered the man for the job.
That air of uncertainty over his ability to tactically compete with top-class rival managers is the biggest concern at this stage as there is a danger that he could be found out if he’s not up to the task.
Should Gerrard be appointed, he will undoubtedly receive the full backing of all concerned as ultimately we all want Villa to continue to progress and start knocking on the door for European football.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of questions that he’ll have to answer and a number of doubts he’ll have to eradicate to succeed, but he certainly has shown thus far as a coach that he can handle pressure and produce results.
Ideally, Villa would have shown serious ambition and tried to prise a manager of the ilk of Erik ten Hag away from Ajax in what would have been a real statement of intent.
That kind of appointment breeds confidence that there is a vision, an identity and a long-term strategy being put in place to shape the club’s future. With Gerrard that is still possible for Villa, but there are still so many question marks as to how good he really is and sometimes that uncertainty can lead to further problems.