Frank Lampard has spent the first part of this summer working for BBC Sport at the World Cup in Russia, despite his recent appointment as Derby County’s new manager, but his former BT Sport colleague Steven Gerrard is focusing solely on his job at Rangers.
The Liverpool legend has been working tirelessly since putting pen to paper on his four-year contract with the Scottish giants on May 4.
Gerrard has already brought in five players since taking the reins - Alan McGregor, Scott Arfield, Ovie Ejaria, Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic will be joined by several other new faces over the coming weeks - and is currently with the squad in Spain for a gruelling pre-season ahead of the team’s first friendly against Bury on July 6.
Gerrard has been appointed to help close the gap on Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic, who wrapped up their seventh successive league title last season.
But two matches between the old rivals towards the end of the 2017-18 campaign showed a huge gulf in class. Gerrard knows that bridging the gap will be far from straightforward.
This is why he’s working his new squad extremely hard ahead of the new season. He believes that Celtic’s superior fitness levels has been a fundamental reason why they’ve dominated Scottish football in recent years.
“The fitness is the thing that struck me most when watching them last season,” he told reporters earlier this month.
Gerrard focused on improving Rangers' fitness levels
“You look at the group and areas where you can improve it and fitness is definitely one of them.
“I watched Rangers with my own eyes close up in the game against Celtic and it was glaringly obvious to me that Celtic were fitter and stronger on that occasion.
“If you want to play at the top end and, fight for trophies, be in the running when the big prizes are given out, compete against the best the first thing you have to do as a footballer is be fit.
“You need to be ready for the challenges at the top level. If the fitness is not there where do you go? It’s probably a good reason why Celtic have been quite successful.”
Rangers fans are loving what Gerrard shouted at the players
Judging by footage which is currently doing the rounds on social media, Gerrard is making it abundantly clear to his players that they won’t play unless they’re prepared to press ferociously both in training sessions and during matches.
To press effectively you need a group of fit players - and that’s exactly what Gerrard wants once pre-season is over.
Footage from Rangers’ latest training session in Spain shows Gerrard shouting at the players: “No phoneys who are pretending…just little crazy jogs in, watching the ball.
“We go to win the ball – all over the pitch. Okay?
“Get it in your heads, now.”
These words are music to the ears of Rangers fans, who are delighted that Gerrard is giving the club’s players a tough time in training.
Maybe we will see a much-improved Rangers team when the new season kicks off in just over a month’s time.
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