Steven Gerrard has made the next step up in his managerial career by completing a move to Aston Villa.
The Liverpool legend is making a long-awaited return to the Premier League on the back of a successful spell with Rangers, ending Celtic’s nine-year dominance by regaining the league title.
However, the elephant in the room is that England’s top-flight will prove to be a much tougher task than the Scottish Premiership, particularly with Villa having lost their last five games on the bounce.
Gerrard gets the Aston Villa job
And when Gerrard took on the nation’s media ahead of his first game in charge, he inevitability faced questions about whether Villa were simply being used as a stepping stone to the Liverpool job.
Naturally, Gerrard navigated the line of questioning with great poise and dignity, further reaffirming the fact that he hasn’t just been made a Premier League coach simply because of his name status.
And while that might seem obvious to some, the divisive nature of Dean Smith’s sacking has led others to suggest that Gerrard wouldn’t have been given the Villa job if he wasn’t, well, Gerrard.
The inside story of Gerrard getting the job
In one respect, that’s completely false as Gerrard’s appointment isn’t mere tokenism, but in another way it’s completely spot on because ‘being Gerrard’ is indicative of a truly remarkable work ethic.
So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that new information surrounding the 41-year-old’s interview for the Villa job shines such a brilliant light on how badly he wanted to be chosen for the position.
The Telegraph have reported that Gerrard – despite barely sleeping the night before his interview – emerged as Villa’s number one contender after five hours of ‘intense, highly-detailed talks.’
Gerrard is said to have outlined the philosophy behind his possession-based brand of football and how he would implement it in training sessions to Villa chiefs Christian Purslow and Johan Lange.
His extensive Powerpoint presentation also included the strengths and weaknesses that he had identified in every single one of Villa’s first-team players.
Purslow and Lange are said to have bombarded Gerrard with questions about his methodology and how he would implement his philosophy in the Premier League and against certain teams.
However, Gerrard reportedly took all the questioning in his stride with Purslow later saying: “It was an outstanding interview and left us in no doubt that we were on with the right man.
“From my perspective, we were blown away with the level of preparation, the thoughtfulness, and the clarity around a pretty detailed blueprint.”
Gerrard already leaving his mark
The report goes on to explain that Lange had used data and analytics to whittle down an original list of 20 coaches to a final four with Frank Lampard having also held inform talks about the role.
It also adds that the mood around the Bodymoor Heath training base has been lifted since Gerrard’s arrival with training sessions described as ‘short and sharp’ with high standards being demanded.
Gerrard has already held numerous meetings with players about what he expects from them as well as the style of football that he hopes to implement at Villa Park.
So, it would be fair to say that Gerrard is doing everything right so far with a perfect interview and impressive start to training. However, as we all know with management, it’s the results that matter most.