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Steven Gerrard leaves Rangers to become Aston Villa manager

Gerrard has moved to the Midlands club as Dean Smith's successor.

Steven Gerrard leaves Rangers to become Aston Villa manager SNS Group

Steven Gerrard has left Rangers to take charge at English Premier League side Aston Villa.

The Englishman has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Midlands club.

Villa have been searching for a manager since sacking Dean Smith on Sunday and quickly identified Gerrard as the man they want to lead the club forward.

Chief executive Christian Purslow knows Gerrard from his time at Liverpool and has now taken the 41-year-old back to the Premier League.

Gerrard had a contract at Ibrox running until 2024, but Villa met the required compensation to satisfy Rangers and hold talks to finalise personal terms.

Rangers chairman Douglas Park said: “I would firstly like to put on record my thanks to Steven for his outstanding efforts over the last three-and-a-half years at Rangers.

“He has provided us all with some unforgettable moments, not least his delivery of the Scottish Premiership title back to Ibrox last season having not lost a match in the entire league campaign.

“In European competition, he has restored the good name and credibility of our club on the continent and leaves us in a very healthy position on the pitch.”

Sporting director Ross Wilson added: “Firstly I want to say thank you to Steven for the work, dedication and professionalism with which he has diligently carried out the role of Rangers manager.

“Steven and his backroom staff have ensured that the club is undoubtedly in a better place today than it was three-and-a-half years ago. I joined Steven on that journey just over two years ago and from the first day we met, I have enjoyed all aspects of our partnership.

“We have shared a desire to move Rangers forward, to modernise our infrastructure and to make the club win again.

“There have been so many areas that we have moved forward, and there is still so much to be done, but I can’t stress enough how important it has been to have with us a first team manager who shared a drive and desire to set standards and move the whole football operation forward.

“I know how much it meant to Steven that our 55th league championship was achieved last season, and alongside an excellent European record across his tenure, we have had some truly memorable days and nights.

“Personally, I am proud of the work that we have done together along with all of the players and staff, and I know Steven shares that pride. We wish Steven nothing but success for his next chapter.”

The Midlands club had set their sights high this season, with Smith having publicly targeted a top-ten place, but five successive league defeats left the hierarchy at Villa Park convinced that change was necessary.

Gerrard will be asked to lift the club from their current position, 16th in the English Premier League table.

While the Liverpudlian is known primarily in England for his career with club and country, his achievements in Glasgow in his first job as manager have persuaded Villa that he can succeed in Birmingham.

Gerrard arrived at Ibrox in 2018 with the target of ending Celtic’s dominance of domestic trophies. The former Liverpool captain revamped the Rangers squad and led them to the knockout stages of the Europa League two seasons running before lifting the league title in his third season in charge.

This season, the club faltered early on and missed out on qualification for the Champions League but are currently at the top of the Premiership table, hopeful of progressing in the Europa League and have already booked a place in the semi-finals of the League Cup.