Despite being a household name thanks to a long career with Liverpool and England, little is known about Steven Gerrard in terms of management.
Appointed Rangers manager in May, the 38-year-old has overseen three Rangers games now, including a 5-5 draw at the hands of Hibernian.
Yet nobody really knows how Gerrard will approach his first full season in professional management.
The only concrete information that Gerrard has given regarding next season is that he will prominently play a 4-2-3-1 formation. But even that is up for debate.
So what can expect from Steven Gerrard in 2018/19? Can Rangers finally dethrone Celtic in Scotland?
It is clear that Rangers do not have the financial pulling power of their fierce rivals Celtic. In truth, the two clubs are worlds away in terms of finances with Steven Gerrard given very slim funds compared to Celtic for his Rangers revamp.
Looking at Rangers’ signings so far – Scott Arfield, Allan McGregor and Jamie Murphy all on permanent deals – one really does get a sense of the funds available to Steven Gerrard.
As a result, the Merseyside native is using his numerous contacts to acquire some youngsters on loan. One such player is Liverpool midfielder, Ovie Ejaria, who has joined the Ibrox outfit on a one-year loan.
Gerrard is also reportedly eyeing a number of other prospects on loan from Liverpool including highly touted winger Ben Woodburn.
Despite making signings, many fans and pundits have voiced their opposition to Gerrard’s loan army.
One such critic is former Rangers player Kris Boyd who stated, “You can’t just say, ‘Oh, I’m going to go and bring in youngsters on loan’ because we’ve seen it before, it won’t work.”
But the Rangers manager has put all fears of an influx of loan players to bed, bringing in much-needed quality to a hapless Rangers defence by acquiring Brighton’s Connor Goldson and highly touted centre-back Nikola Katic to plug the holes.
At the other end of the pitch, Rangers have targeted misfiring Stoke forward Saido Berahino to aid the Scottish outfit’s goal-scoring woes. While a potential deal for the former West Bromwich Albion man may not be the most inspiring, it represents the quality that Rangers can afford at the moment.
Formation and style of play
On the pitch, Gerrard will probably field a 4-2-3-1 formation next season.
Beyond that, expect Rangers to be quick going forward and resolute at the back: a style of play that Gerrard encouraged whilst managing the Liverpool U-18’s.
Scoring 50 goals and conceding just 35, the third best in the U-18 division, it is clear just how good Gerrard’s system can be with the right players.
The fact that Gerrard wants to bring in so many of the Liverpool U-18 contingent just shows how he wants Rangers to play next season. Quick, resolute but, most importantly, efficient in front of goal.
Trophies and ambitions
Every fan wants their team to perform well. But competing or even outmuscling Celtic may just be a step too far for Rangers especially with a number of new faces, a new manager and the sheer amount of quality Celtic have.
A more realistic expectation for Rangers next season is to finish second and have a tilt at a cup. However, that is the full extent of what Gerrard can achieve in his first season.
Many fans forget that this is Gerrard’s first professional job in senior management and to close the gap between Celtic and Rangers will take time.
Catching Celtic is not an overnight job and, if it is possible at all, will take two or three seasons. What is needed, then, is patience.
While appointing Gerrard is a risk, it is one that needs time and financial backing to pay off.
How do you think Steven Gerrard will do at Rangers? Let us know by commenting below.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?