Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has opened up about his beginning at the club, speaking at length during an episode of The High Performing podcast about his first addressing of the squad upon his arrival, and how he wanted to create an internal culture of no excuses at the club.
The former Liverpool midfielder revealed how the nerves almost got the better of him, as he insisted that his playing career will not define him as a manager.
Despite the initial nerves, his determination and will to get through to his players still remained very much intact.
“I remember addressing the team, the squad, for the first time. It was one of the most nervous talks I’ve ever done. I had a few days and weeks prepare for what I was going to say. But for me, the key thing was to let them know that I’m not standing here addressing you as Steven Gerrard the player.
“I’m not gonna think I’m this person because I’ve had a decent football career. This is me, here, to try and help and support you and try to improve you all as a group.To try and use my experience and my knowledge and my team or people and to try and help you.”
Promises Made to the Players
His rallying cry continued with a promise to his players, that under his guidance, they will improve.
“We’re there for you, we’ll do everything we can. We’ll sacrifice everything we can for you, individually and collectively, to get you in a better place. Because at the time, Rangers were suffering.”
Furthermore, he outlined the importance of responsibility and a number of changes to implement at the club, including alterations to the training ground, kits, and Ibrox.
“We wanted to create a culture where it was a no excuse culture. So yes, we’ll make the training ground better. We’ll make Ibrox better. We’ll get you better kit. We’ll get you better food. We’ll get you better. We’ll take the excuses away. But then you have to buy into having that responsibility and that accountability. I’ll do everything I can to protect you and I’ll take as much responsibility as possible and take it away from you. I want you to go and play with freedom, express yourselves and give me the best version of you."
Backing of the Board
Finally, Gerrard touched on how the backing of the board made him sure Rangers had the right project for him to begin in senior management, with reassurances on signings and a mutual alignment on where to improve the club.
“If we got that collectively around the group, or got the majority buying into that, there was no doubt Rangers was going to improve. We also knew over a period of time, with what had been said to me by the board and the chairman, that we were gonna add players and recruit better players. That was music to my ears, to know we had the support of the board.”
It’s safe to say that Rangers have improved, and that their faith in Gerrard has paid off.
Tasked with bridging the once imperious looking gap to Old Firm rivals Celtic, two years of gradual improvement has been followed up by an incredible campaign this time around. Having reached the last 16 of the Europa League, along with dropping only eight points in the league so far this season, they were crowned champions this afternoon after Celtic failed to beat Dundee United.
A 55th league title for the club and a first for Steven Gerrard in management.
For more incredibly insightful interviews with elite sportsmen, women and entrepreneurs, make sure you subscribe to the High Performance Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-high-performance-podcast/id1500444735News Now - Sport News