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Steven Gerrard is well prepared to succeed at Ibrox, say Northern Ireland's ex-Gers

 

By Steven Beacom

Steven Gerrard will officially take over as Rangers manager today, and according to former Ibrox star David Healy the appointment of the Liverpool legend can herald an exciting new era for the club.

Since Gerrard's press conference early last month to confirm his four-year deal to take charge of the Glasgow giants, Rangers supporters have been eagerly awaiting June 1 - the start date of the 38-year-old's new job.

Now that day has arrived, with Gerrard's ultimate aim to catch up with and overhaul a Celtic side who, under Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers, in the past two seasons have won all six domestic trophies available to them.

Rodgers was, of course, Gerrard's manager when the pair were at Anfield, which adds even more spice to what promises to be a red-hot rivalry.

Linfield boss Healy, a title winner at Rangers in 2011, said: "With Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard in charge of Celtic and Rangers, the coming season will be really interesting.

"Celtic are better than Rangers right now so Steven will need to start a re-building job and try and bring quality players in.

"He is such a huge name that players will be attracted to play for him and the players already there will want to make sure they stay at the club so they can play under him because it is sure to be an exciting period for Rangers."

Much has been made of Gerrard's lack of management experience, having previously only coached the Liverpool Under-18 side.

Healy was in a similar position himself, becoming Linfield boss after coaching youngsters for the IFA. While the season just finished did not go as planned, the ex-Manchester United and Leeds striker did guide the Blues to a stunning treble in his first full campaign.

"Steven has only been coaching for a short period of time but I don't see that as being a problem," said Healy.

"In terms of experience and working with top-class managers, he has it. He has had a top-class career as a player and is a top-class individual. Straight away he'll give the club a huge lift with the name that he is and the type of character that he is."

Healy's former Northern Ireland and Rangers team-mate Steven Davis agrees that Gerrard's experience of playing in big games for Liverpool and England will help him when it comes to handling the pressure of being the figurehead at Ibrox.

"It is a big job for him but he has been used to playing under that sort of pressure throughout his career, being the main man at Liverpool and also being captain of England," said the Southampton and Northern Ireland captain.

"I'm sure being the type of person he is and the world-class player he was that he will be well prepared in terms of the demands that he will face.

"Celtic have dominated over the past few seasons but every Rangers supporter will now be hoping that, with Steven arriving, they can bridge that gap that currently exists between the sides."

Another man who skippered both Rangers and Northern Ireland, John McClelland, is fascinated by the prospect of Gerrard being in charge of his old club, especially with Carnlough native Rodgers his chief rival as manager of Celtic.

"To be fair to Brendan, he has done a great job since arriving at Celtic but he had a good base to work from. With Steven Gerrard going in at Rangers, he will start on a very different footing," said the 1982 and 1986 World Cup hero.

"There is no one who could not admire Gerrard the player. It will be a real test for him as manager of Rangers and he will need to be backed with finances to push the club on.

"You want to show progress and show what you are building, do well in some of the cups, get the standards up and then you could really challenge for the title."

McClelland played with Gerrard's assistant Gary McAllister when Leeds won the English league title in 1992.

He added: "It's important for Steven to have an experienced man beside him. The pair of them will demand high standards from the players."

Gerrard’s things to do

Use his pulling power

DAVID HEALY: "Steven needs to start a re-building job and try and bring quality players in. Players will be attracted to play for him."

Close the gap on Celts

STEVEN DAVIS: "Every Rangers supporter will now be hoping that, with Steven arriving, they can bridge that gap that currently exists between them and Celtic"

Raise a cup of cheer

JOHN McCLELLAND: "You want to show progress, do well in some of the Cups, get the standards up and then you could really challenge for the title."

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