Steven Gerrard has explained his reasons for leaving Rangers to become Aston Villa manager and says he completed the job asked of him at Ibrox.
Gerrard left Rangers last week after the clubs agreed compensation for him to move to Birmingham and become Dean Smith’s permanent replacement at Villa Park.
His sudden departure angered some Rangers fans, with Gerrard leaving the club just months after winning the Premiership title and with the team facing a League Cup semi-final and a crucial Europa League match in the coming days.
As he was introduced to the media at Villa, Gerrard said that two of the major factors in his decision to leave were the chance to return to England’s top flight, and the chance to work closer to his family, who remained on Merseyside during his time in Glasgow.
“It’s a real honour to be the head coach and manager of this football club,” he said.
“Although the last seven to ten days have gone extremely quick, it’s been a real happy time for me because the opportunity to be back in the Premier League and the opportunity to be back close to my family were the two reasons why this was the right move for me.”
Asked about taking the decision to leave Rangers, Gerrard said it wasn’t an easy choice but said that he had completed the task asked of him. The manager and his coaching staff had led the team to the Premiership title last season, ending a long wait to lift the trophy and stopping Celtic’s bid to win a record tenth consecutive title.
“It was a difficult decision and I certainly left with a heavy heart,” he said. “I built up some fantastic relationships up at Rangers and it’s a club that I’ve got immense respect for.
“I was given a remit three-and-a-half years ago with Rangers and we went on a journey and we completed that remit.
“Approximately ten days ago the opportunity came to join another iconic club and I think it’s important to make sure that this press conference is about Aston Villa. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t let pass me by.”
Rangers are currently looking to appoint Gerrard’s replacement, with former Ibrox player Giovanni van Bronckhorst having held positive talks with the club.