Former Scottish Premiership player Noel Whelan has sung the praises of Rangers chairman Dave King and the board at Ibrox for convincing manager Steven Gerrard to commit his future to the club.
Last week, the 39-year-old signed a contract extension which will keep him as the Light Blues’ manager until 2024 (as per rangers.co.uk), a decision that received the firm backing of Whelan.
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Speaking to Football Insider, he was highly complimentary of both Gerrard and outgoing chairman King. He said: “King and the Rangers board have pulled off a blinder. Stevie G has worked wonders and tying him down is a sensational piece of business, especially when big Premier League clubs are looking for managers.
“He has taken Rangers so far forward that the gap between them and Celtic is how minimal. He’s helped make Scottish football so much more interesting because the two giants are now set to fight all the way for the title this season.
“Gerrard has taken to management just like he did to playing. He comes across fantastically well, professional, smart and clearly knows how to get the best out of his players.”
Whelan is absolutely right to speak so highly of the job that Gerrard has done since taking charge of Rangers in the summer of 2018.
In the season prior to his arrival, they finished third in the Premiership 12 points adrift of champions Celtic and dropped out of the Europa League in the first qualifying round, losing to Luxembourg’s Progres Niederkorn.
This season, Gerrard’s team are within two points of their Glasgow rivals at the Premiership summit and he has guided them into the knockout rounds of the Europa League, the furthest they have progressed on the continent in nine years.
Whelan is also right to point out the managerial picture in the English Premier League, with some clubs looking for permanent managers and other bosses reportedly on the brink of the sack.
Arsenal have yet to appoint a permanent successor to Unai Emery since he was sacked last month, with Freddie Ljungberg remaining in temporary charge, while West Ham had been considering the future of Manuel Pellegrini, according to The Guardian.
A report in the Daily Mail claimed that Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhuttl could also be in danger of being the next Premier League manager to lose his job.
Having impressed with Rangers, Gerrard may have been tempted to try his luck in England’s top flight if an ideal vacancy arose, but King and the Ibrox board have eliminated that possibility by convincing the 39-year-old to continue ‘working wonders’ in Glasgow, as Whelan has justifiably put it.
Rangers fans, what do you make of Whelan’s views on Gerrard committing his future to the club? Have your say by commenting below!
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