How Long Can Rangers Hold On To Steven Gerrard?
When former England team-mates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard took their first steps into management within a day of each other, few felt as though the Liverpool legend had bargained himself the better deal.
While Lampard took over a Derby County side well positioned to challenge for promotion to the Premier League on May 31, 2018, the following day Gerrard took charge of a Rangers squad who looked well short of ending Celtic’s dominance of the Scottish Premiership.
Over three years and a global pandemic later, a lot has changed. Frank Lampard is on the managerial scrapheap having made a mess of his dream job at Chelsea – which he got despite failing to bring Derby up from the Championship – while his old foe Gerrard has seen his stock rocket sky high.
On the back of going unbeaten in the league last season, winning the Scottish title by a mammoth 25-points and ending Celtic’s quest for an unprecedented 10th title in a row, Gerrard has quite rightly caught the eye of English football once again.
In football betting, the bookmakers’ odds on who will be the first manager to be sacked in a Premier League season are extremely popular, and you can bet your bottom dollar Gerrard will be linked with the first vacancy that arises in England’s top flight this term.
At the moment Watford manager Xisco Munoz and new Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira are the favourites to be sacked first at 6/1 and 7/1 respectively, but would Gerrard leave Rangers at the first opportunity?
The bookies suggest he might be better off playing the waiting game with William Hill this week shortening their odds on him to eventually succeed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp from 11/10 to 4/5.
Odds on Steven Gerrard’s Next Job
|To be next manager of Liverpool||4/5||William Hill|
|To be next manager of England||8/1||William Hill|
|To be next manager of Arsenal||17/1||Paddy Power|
|To be next manager of Newcastle||20/1||Paddy Power|
|To be next manager of Leeds||33/1||Betfair|
|To be next manager of Leicester||200/1||Betfair|
William Hill’s price shift on the Liverpool job comes on the back of Rangers’ impressive 2-1 win over Real Madrid in pre-season.
Indeed, most of the best betting sites also shortened Rangers’ odds to retain the Scottish Premiership to around 4/9 as Celtic simultaneously suffered an embarrassing 6-2 friendly defeat at home to West Ham over the weekend.
Gerrard also made gains in Europe last season with Rangers getting to the last 16 of the Europa League and this summer they’ll bid to end an 11-year exile from the Champions League group stages as they look to navigate their way from the third qualifying round.
Former Rangers striker Tore Andre Flo expects his old side to build on last year’s success and has high hopes for an exciting European adventure on top of domestic matters.
“First of all, I have to say I was very, very impressed with Rangers last season, it was so good,” Flo told Gambling.com.
“From here, I hope they can build on that but I’m sure Celtic will be eager to catch up again as quickly as possible, although Rangers have built themselves a really good base to work from.
“They have a very good group of players and a good manager so everyone is pulling in the right direction and I think the club is in a much healthier position now.
“They could look to go further in Europe. They did reasonably well last season and I think they could go even further this year. Getting back into the Champions League would be a huge step, but it’s a very tough ask.”
Malmo or HJK Helsinki await the Gers in the third qualifying round, but the Ibrox outfit will still face another step in the last qualifying stage should they negotiate their way over their first hurdle. Failure to qualify will see them settle for a spot in the Europa League.
Automatic Qualification Next Year
Qualifying for the Champions League would only enhance Gerrard’s reputation as a manager, but even if it does prove a step too far this season there is an enormous motive in the Scottish title race which would likely see their main focus switch to domestic affairs.
That is the promise of automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League group stages for the winner of this year’s Scottish Premiership.
“That puts the stakes to another level,” says Flo. “Automatic qualification next year would be massive for either club and whoever gets it will take a huge advantage over their rival from there.
“It’s not just the economics of it all, it’s also the experience of playing against better teams, learning from them, that’s what Champions League football also offers you.
“But of course being in the Champions League helps attract interest from more players too.”
The question remains, though, if Gerrard can continue to build on Rangers’ recent promise, will he still be in charge at Ibrox come next season?
“I definitely think Premier League clubs would be very interested in him if he repeats anything like the success he had last season,” says Flo.
“He’s already proven that he’s a very good manager and it could be difficult for Rangers to hold on to him. If they do, it’s very good for the club. It’s important to keep him as long as possible.”
For now, Gerrard appears to be relishing the challenge at Rangers, but his resolve could well be tested once the sack race builds momentum in the Premier League.
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