Gerrard to have no divided loyalties when Villa face Liverpool

‘I’m going to Anfield to WIN – and take the maximum points’: Steven Gerrard says his Liverpool roots will mean little to him when he takes Aston Villa to Anfield next month, in his first interview as boss after leaving Rangers

  • Steven Gerrard was officially unveiled as Aston Villa’s new manager last week
  • The all-time great will lead his side for a trip to his former club Liverpool soon 
  • But Gerrard, 41, has insisted he will have no split loyalties for his Anfield return 
  • In his first lengthy interview, the boss also shared his excitement to start work 

Steven Gerrard has insisted he will have no divided loyalties when he takes his new Aston Villa team to face former club Liverpool next month.

In his first in-depth interview since being appointed as Dean Smith’s successor, the Reds and England legend outlined his excitement at taking the job and revealed his side will be targeting three points from their trip to Merseyside.

The testing clash will be his fifth at the helm at Villa Park, and Gerrard has been quick to reveal to supporters and his players that his focus is firmly on achieving success at the expense of his old team.

Steven Gerrard says he will have no divided loyalties when his Aston Villa side face Liverpool

Gerrard is a club legend at Anfield, but has insisted his focus is on taking all three points there

Questioned on the build-up to his return by VillaTV, Gerrard, 41, said: ‘I don’t think me or anyone else will be able to control the noise. For me, that’s not important. 

‘What is important is the chance to go to Anfield and win, to take maximum points, which is the attitude and mentality we have going into every game. It is what it is. 

‘I want to win every game. 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 is that when I commit to something, I’m all in.’

Villa quickly identified Gerrard as their No 1 target after dismissing former boss Dean Smith

Villa parted ways with Smith earlier this month after a horror run of five Premier League defeats in a row, which left them hovering just above the drop zone in 16th.

Gerrard was immediately identified as the club’s first-choice target to take over, with owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens impressed by his success with Rangers.

Christian Purslow, Villa’s chief executive, also favoured hiring the all-time great.

Negotiations were quickly wrapped up, with Rangers paid £2.5million in compensation, and Gerrard has now admitted he is relishing getting started. 

Gerrard’s success at Rangers, his first senior managerial job, impressed Villa’s board members

Dean Smith parted ways with Villa, his boyhood club, eight days ago after a poor run of form

‘I think Aston Villa sells itself,’ he added. ‘It’s an iconic football club that I know pretty well from the outside. I’m excited to get involved inside, start building relationships, get on the training pitch and get started. 

‘The excitement levels are really, really high. I’m very ambitious and the start can’t come quick enough.’

During his lengthy sit-down with the club’s in-house media channel, the iconic ex-midfielder also said he has taken inspiration from working with coaches in the past. 

‘I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with a lot of elite managers,’ Gerrard said. ‘I think it’s very important for me to be myself, to put my own stamp on things. 

The all-time great (centre) memorably won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005

‘What I am guilty of is taking things and learning a lot from all the managers – not just the ones I’ve worked with from a close point of view, managers around the game.’

Gerrard topped the shortlist ahead of Brentford boss Thomas Frank and Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand – although the latter had no interest in taking the job.

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez was another candidate – but held reservations.

In the end, though, it was Gerrard who was appointed and in his unveiling, he described himself as feeling ‘immensely proud’.

Gerrard also outlined his excitement to get started, with his first game against Brighton soon

‘In my conversations with Nassef, Wes and the rest of the Board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims,’ Gerrard told the club’s official website.

‘I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club.

‘Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to wish the players, staff and supporters the very best for the future.’

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