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Why Steven Gerrard's inexperience isn't an issue for Rangers, explains former boss

 

By Andy Newport

Former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat has backed Steven Gerrard to hit the ground running as the new Ibrox manager prepares to get down to work.

The former Liverpool and England skipper officially takes up his new post in Glasgow today after being confirmed as boss in April.

He is not due to meet his new squad until they report for pre-season training on June 15 but there is plenty to be done in the meantime.

Turning Gers' fortunes around will not be an easy task for the first-time boss, but Advocaat is certain the 38-year-old is up to the task.

The former Holland manager - who is finally set to retire from the dugout after racking up 21 jobs over 31 years - said: "He will walk straight into that dressing room and command respect.

"I spoke recently with Dirk Kuyt, who obviously played with him for a long time at Liverpool. He said in the dressing room, he was the man. He was involved in everything.

"He was centre of all the talking, asking what will we do next, how can we change? He was a real pro.

"I was really impressed by the appointment. It's a great name. Steven was a great football player, a legend in Liverpool.

"Now he's got the opportunity to be the manager of a big club, so it's very positive.

"I don't worry about his experience. He has so much of it as a player and has always had great managers around him at Liverpool and the national team, so I don't think that will be a problem, not at all.

"I can only see the positives for Steven and for the players at the club."

Gerrard will find a lengthy to-do list waiting for him when he settles into the manager's office at Gers' Auchenhowie training base for the first time today.

His squad depart for a 10-day training camp near Malaga in Spain on June 17, but just who will be making that trip remains to be seen.

As many as a dozen players could find themselves surplus to requirements and will need to be moved on if Gerrard is to put his own stamp on the squad he has inherited.

So far the only new deals the club have signed off are for goalkeeper Allan McGregor and midfielder Scott Arfield.

Brighton defender Connor Goldson remains high on Gerrard's list of targets but there has been no fresh progress in talks with the Seagulls.

Gerrard's main aim will be to stop his former boss Brendan Rodgers from extending Celtic's domestic dominance to an eighth consecutive title, and Advocaat expects Rangers to put up a better fight this year than they did last campaign.

The Dutchman had a major rebuilding job when he took over at Ibrox back in 1998 but reckons Gerrard's big-name appeal may mean only minor surgery is required to close the gap between the two bitter rivals this time around.

Advocaat - who won a treble in his first season in charge - said: "Having Gerrard as manager, having that name involved, will definitely help bring players to Rangers, especially English players.

"The difference when I arrived was that I had to change the whole team almost.

"But Rangers didn't do that badly last season.

"Okay, they finished third, but they were not so many points behind Celtic.

"With some good players, experienced players, they can close the gap in my opinion.

"I'm certain that Gerrard will bring the competition back between Celtic and Rangers."

Belfast Telegraph

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