Gerrard, who remains a world-class manager, has had to endure some awfully bad luck over recent months, with star signing Diego Carlos suffering a major injury, as well as long absences and injury setbacks to his attacking talent. Philippe Coutinho has been a mixed bag, John McGinn is woefully out of form, and Danny Ings tends to spend a lot of his time in the treatment room.
To put it bluntly, none of Aston Villa’s woes are Gerrard’s fault and his sacking only cements his reputation as a managerial martyr.
Let’s not forget that it was Steven Gerrard who dragged Liverpool to victory in the 2005 Champions League final and the 2006 FA Cup Final. It was Steven Gerrard who inspired the Reds to make, at the time, their most promising title challenge in 2013/14, and it was Steven Gerrard who always delivered the goods for England when the chips were down.
To say the former midfielder knows a thing or two about winning would be a massive understatement, and his early dismissal from Aston Villa has hit me like a ton of bricks. Eighteen months after leading heroic Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title, the great man is out of work – and it’s nothing short of a disgrace.
I hope Villa fans are happy that they’ve ousted three top English managers in four years. First was Steve Bruce, then it was Dean Smith, and now it’s Liverpool’s famous number 8. I hope one day they’ll be managed by a coach good enough for their outrageous expectations – but I doubt that’ll happen.
Even an emphatic 4-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers did little to numb my pain. In fact, it seemed as though the players were celebratory and somehow proud of the fact they threw Gerrard under the bus. Make no mistake, these players were capable of this kind of performances when Gerrard was there, and perhaps his tactical genius and knowledge of the game scared and irritated the squad.
Speaking about Gerrard’s exit, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers stated: “I’m bitterly disappointed for Steven, he did a fantastic job at Rangers and the ambitions at Villa, I assume, are to be challenging for Europe. It seems every day a manager loses his job or their job is under threat. I think stability and patience seems to be running out.’’
Rodgers, who managed Gerrard in the mid-2010s, knows all about his former protoge’s greatness.
Though I’m sad that Aston Villa has made this decision, I would bet you substantial money that Steven Gerrard will be occupying another top-flight dugout very soon, and the higher-ups at Villa Park will have egg all over their faces. The victory over Wolves was impressive, however, it only highlighted how selfish the modern player can be.
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