Steven Gerrard: New Aston Villa head coach says role 'a risk, but too big to turn down'

Gerrard swapped Rangers for Aston Villa and signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League club last week; the former Liverpool captain says he will ignore "noise" over Anfield return next month, and calls Dean Smith a "tough act to follow"

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Jamie Carragher believes Steven Gerrard's move from Rangers to Aston Villa is a 'no-brainer'

Steven Gerrard admits the opportunity to become Aston Villa head coach was "too big" to turn down, while the former Liverpool captain said he will do his best to ignore the "noise" over next month's Anfield return.

Villa sacked Dean Smith following a run of five straight defeats, with Gerrard leaving his role as Rangers manager on Thursday to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League club.

"Aston Villa sells itself - an iconic football club," Gerrard told VillaTV. "I know [it] pretty well from the outside, and I'm very much excited to get involved inside and start building relationships.

"I like a challenge. I like a risk. It's something I'm really looking forward to getting into. This club will suit me because I know the fans are very passionate and there's a demand and pressure to win. That's something I've lived with since I was 17."

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Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp says the Aston Villa job is a great opportunity for Gerrard to prove he belongs as a Premier League manager

Gerrard had been in charge of Rangers since June 2018, and led the club to the Scottish Premiership title last season, ending Celtic's nine-year reign as champions.

Describing the process of swapping Rangers for Villa, Gerrard said it was "crazy and very quick".

"I was first aware of Aston Villa's interest on Wednesday, I had a call from my representation, and when the phone call sunk in, I wanted this to happen very quickly, because first and foremost the opportunity was too big," Gerrard added.

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One thing I can guarantee the supporters, the players and the staff here - when I commit to something, I'm all in.
Steven Gerrard

"From there it happened really quick. Credit to Villa, the speed they got things done. Not just me, the staff that I'm bringing as well. I must also pay my respects to Rangers, who were very professional in the deals as well.

"Very crazy. Very quick. But when you're in that situation, the last thing you want is for it to drag out."

Gerrard's first game as Villa boss is at home to Brighton on Saturday, while a match against his former side Liverpool is on the horizon on December 11.

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Jamie Carragher dismisses the suggestion that Gerrard's move to Aston Villa is a stepping stone for him in becoming the manager of Liverpool in the future

"Listen. I don't think me or anyone else will be able to control the noise," said Gerrard, who won nine trophies including the Champions League during his 17 years as a Liverpool player.

"For me, that's not important, what's important is the chance to go to Anfield and win. That's the attitude we'll have going into every game. It is what it is, I want to win every game that I play in, now my priority and focus - and everything I will give on a daily basis - will be for Aston Villa.

"One thing I can guarantee the supporters, the players and the staff here - when I commit to something, I'm all in."

Gerrard: Smith a tough act to follow

Gerrard acknowledged he was lucky to work under world-class managers as a player, but with regards to his own style, he said: "I put my own stamp on things".

The 41-year-old also admitted Smith - who was appointed Norwich boss on Monday - would be a "tough act" to follow at Villa.

"I must take this opportunity to mention Dean Smith, because he's someone I've got a lot of admiration for," Gerrard said.

"I can't control how things happen, but the success he's had here - and the respect - and the local connection, it's going to be a tough act to follow."

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He added: "I want to discuss that [philosophy] with the players. If you watched my team at Rangers, it'll give you a good idea of that. I obviously want to be as entertaining and attractive on the eye as we can be, but one thing I'd like to improve is the structure of the team from a defensive point of view - our shape, what we do to regain the ball.

"I've been lucky when I was a player to take that from some world-class managers."

Gerrard is joined at Villa Park by several members of his Rangers backroom staff, including Gary McAllister - a former Aston Villa assistant manager - and Michael Beale as his assistant head coaches.

Meanwhile, it has also been confirmed that Austin MacPhee, Aaron Danks and Neil Cutler, who worked under Smith, will remain at Villa.

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A look back at Gerrard's career at Rangers which saw him lead the Ibrox club to the Scottish Premiership title after three years

Gerrard said: "I have to respect that the leagues are very different in terms of level, but I've learned a lot over the past three-and-a-half years.

"I've lived under that pressure and demand to win. There was a big building job to be done, and I can walk away with my head held high.

"Going into another league, that's something we'll adapt to. I've played many years in the league, and I've got an experienced group of coaches who are a real rock to me. We'll also use existing staff, so I look forward to building relationships."

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