Steven Gerrard has given a fascinating insight into his management style as he continues to make a name for himself as a budding coach at Rangers. Speaking about how he is trying to improve himself as a manager, Gerrard says he needs to stay more balanced than he was as a player.
Steven Gerrard said “From a personal point of view, you mentioned how I’ve evolved and tried to grow in the role and that’s one area I’ve tried to focus a lot on, in terms of being more balanced. At times I’ve got myself too down, at times I’ve gotten myself up too much, but that’s what type of person I am. I do try to and live the emotions, I do try and be authentic, I tried to play that way, on the edge. So I don’t want to change too much but I think, in this role, what I can grow into and get better at is being balanced around results, because it’s important that you don’t sometimes show the players or people round the club how you’re feeling all the time. So, after a defeat or a draw, if it doesn’t feel good and everybody’s feeling bad about themselves, I can’t be sulking round the place, showing it on my face and with my behaviour, I’ve got to try and play a different game to most of the club and try and move onto the next challenge as quickly as we can and stay in the most balanced place we can be in.”
With Celtic having gone into this season aiming for 10 titles in a row, Rangers’ stroll to the brink of the title has been made all the more impressive. Yet Gerrard says that implementation of a winning culture at Ibrox is not solely down to him.
Steven Gerrard said “First and foremost, it’s a process. You’ve got to understand it’s not going to change overnight or in weeks or months. The key to all this was the conversation I had with the chairman, the board and the managing director to say ‘let’s be realistic, where are we as a club? How big is the gap and what’s it going to take to bridge the gap? How long have I got to bridge the gap?’ Was it going to be a case of coming in and the first challenge or bump in the road, are people going to be kneejerk and rash with decisions, or do people understand that it’s a process that’s going to take time? For me, a culture is about people. People you recruit, people you keep, people who are prepared to change or people who are prepared to reset and share the challenge and the journey with you. That’s what we tried to do, we’ve tried to look at all those different departments, but the key to it all for me has been the backing of the chairman and the board because they’ve been true to their word. When we have had a bit of a rough spell, I’ve had nothing but 100 per cent backing. The majority of what I’ve asked for, if not everything I’ve asked for, in terms of trying to change personnel, I’ve been backed. When we’re after a certain player in a certain role, there are restrictions over how much can be spent and can go on wages, but, in the main, I’ve had fantastic backing and support. That’s played a massive backing in getting us to where we are today.”
Gerrard has previously played down the notion of subscribing to a set philosophy of management, and he revealed he takes a similar approach when targeting players to sign.
Steven Gerrard said “In terms of recruitment, we obviously have player profiles for each role within how we play and we’ve obviously favoured a certain system over the other systems, although we have tried to adapt within games or if we come up against a certain opponent. I get asked this question a lot and I think what’s important for me in terms of philosophy is to not nail myself to one philosophy and make a liar out of myself. I think it depends on what your job is and where you’re working. For example, Rangers was my first job and if my philosophy was a low block, hard to play against, and we sit back and soak up pressure, that doesn’t work in every game. We have a culture and a set of non-negotiables that everyone lives by and, obviously, in my head I want to play a certain way, which is to have a really tough team to play against, a really aggressive and organised team. You want to play in a style where the fans are entertained, you score goals and you’re creative, but what happens if you’re playing a team like Porto or Benfica, who have more expensive players with more experience than you? Maybe player for player they’re operating on a different level to you. I can’t go and approach that game the way I’d approach a game at home against the team bottom of the league in the Scottish Premiership, so it’s having a philosophy, a way of playing and how you want it to look, but also being able to adapt in terms of what that game needs.”
Steven Gerrard also talked up the prospect of a return to Anfield one day as a manager.
Steven Gerrard said “I get asked this question a lot and, for me, what will be will be. Would I love to be the coach of Liverpool one day? Is it a dream? Of course. It’s a club that means everything to me but we’ve one of, if not the best, managers in the world who has been absolutely incredible since he came through the door and the success he’s delivered in the last couple of years means that Liverpool are in a fantastic place. Long may that continue. The club have been absolutely amazing with me throughout my playing career, I still watch all of the games, my relationships are still very strong, I’ve still got ex-team-mates playing in the team and that’s where it is. There’s nothing else to really discuss on it. The people who say that… who knows? It’s very difficult to predict the future. Just because I was a good player for Liverpool and had the career I had there, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re next in line to be manager. You know and I know, if one day that job ever becomes available, there will be a queue a mile long, full of top-class managers. It doesn’t mean you’re the best person for the job.”
The Liverpool legend has led the Gers to the brink of their first Scottish Premiership title in a decade, as they remain the only unbeaten club in the division and sit 18 points clear of second-placed Celtic. Gerrard recently admitted a managerial return to Anfield is a dream of his, so his appearance on Robbie Fowler’s podcast will no doubt have piqued the interest of many Reds fans.
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