NEW Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard believes his time away from the limelight at the start of his coaching career was invaluable in preparing him for the demands of top-level management.
Speaking publicly for the first time as Villa boss, the Liverpool legend told VillaTV he felt it was important not to immediately jump into a high-profile managerial job after hanging up his boots five years ago.
The former England midfielder, 41, said: “I think a lot of players, from what I’ve seen, think maybe because they’ve had a decent playing career they automatically think they can roll into a coaching role or a managerial role.
“And they think that all of a sudden they’re going to be really good at it.
“For me, it was about starting from the beginning and putting the blocks in place.
“I wanted to really learn from the start, going away from the cameras initially, and taking the youth team at Liverpool. They were a big support to me.
“That gave me a couple of years of real pitch experience, to get comfortable preparing sessions, delivering sessions and leading the team.”
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He became an academy coach at Liverpool at the start of 2017, the second year of current boss Jurgen Klopp’s successful spell in charge of the first team.
Gerrard’s iconic status on Merseyside means he has often been touted as potential successor to Klopp one day.
But he cut his managerial teeth by taking the hotseat at Scottish giants Rangers in 2018.
The following year it was reported he turned down the manager’s job at Newcastle and last season he etched himself into Gers folklore by leading them to their 55th top flight title in an unbeaten league season.
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And he believes it is that five-year journey from top player to meeting the incredibly high expectation levels at Ibrox which makes him a good fit to revive the fortunes at former European champions Villa.
Gerrard, whose appointment as Dean Smith’s successor was confirmed last week, added: “For me, I like a challenge, I like a risk, and it’s something I’m really looking forward to getting in to.
“I think this club will suit me because I know the fans are very passionate.
“I know there’s a demand and a pressure here to win, that’s something I’ve lived with since I was 17-18 years of age.
“So, for me, it’s about making everyone come together and be unified, and I believe we can do exciting things together.”
Gary McAllister and Michael Beale will be Gerrard’s assistants and their tenure will begin on Saturday at Villa Park when they host Brighton.