Steven Gerrard is one of the most recognisable names within the English game. He spent his entire playing career with boyhood side Liverpool and was part of one the greatest nights in the club's storied history against AC Milan in 2005. When he retired, many wondered what his next steps would be. 

Many of his England colleagues elected to go down the root of punditry but not Gerrard. He was a competitor, he was a warrior and he was someone who thrived on performing under pressure.

When he took on the job as manager of Rangers in 2018, his remit was clear: try and stop bitter rivals Celtic from winning 10 Scottish Premiership titles in a row. The other side of Glasgow had dominated the Scottish game, hoovering up titles and domestic cups at will. Gerrard was given what thought was an impossible job. 

After two years of coming close but not being able to stop Celtic, he finally did what he was required to do. He was able to win the league and bring Rangers their 55th league title, doing so without losing a game. His stock was at an all-time high and eventually, an opportunity presented itself to move on elsewhere. 

Aston Villa had got off to a tough start in the 2021/22 season and this led to the dismissal of Dean Smith as head coach. The Midlands outfit turned to the Liverpool legend to reignite their season and take them to next level. 

A decent start 

Gerrard got off to a decent start with his side maximum points in his first two games in charge. A narrow defeat to Manchester City followed, before another victory against Leicester City left him with three wins from his first four games.

He led the team to narrow defeats against Chelsea and Liverpool, with a win against Norwich City sandwiched in between, to give Gerrard a decent points return from his first few games. 

Some January Business 

Gerrard went about a bit of transfer business to improve his squad. He was able to sign ex-teammate Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona and also added Lucas Digne from Everton.

They also signed Calum Chambers from Arsenal and also brought in Robin Olsen to compete with Emi Martinez for the number 1 jersey. This gave Gerrard a much stronger squad at his disposal. 

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An indifferent end to the campaign

Gerrard embarked on a very inconsistent end to the season. They could get no real momentum during the second half of the campaign as they stumbled and struggled to a disappointing 14th place finish. 

A summer of change 

Gerrard promised changes over the summer and he duly delivered. They completed the signings of the highly rated duty of Boubacar Kamara and Diego Carlos to strengthen the spine of the team and made the loans of Olsen and Coutinho permanent. Changes weren't just happening with the players as Gerrard's long-term assistant Michael Beale departed to QPR and he was swiftly replaced by Neil Critchley. On the pitch, things were positive for Gerrard as well as they went unbeaten during a pre-season program that included games against Leeds United, Manchester United, and Rennes

A poor start 

There was a lot of expectation for Aston Villa this season with Gerrard and the players talking about trying to break into the Top 7 and winning trophies. Those were soon extinguished with a poor performance away to newly promoted Bournemouth, which resulted in a 2-0 loss. They got their first win of the season in a 2-1 victory over a below-par Everton and then lost 3-1 away at Crystal Palace. This leaves Villa with just 3 points from their first three games and languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table. 

The pressure is building 

This poor start has led to lots of questions about whether Gerrard has what it takes to get Villa competing nearer to the top of the league. Many fans are becoming disgruntled with poor tactics and performances leading to many calling for a change in manager. A portion of Villa supporters wants them to appoint ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who is out of work after his departure from Paris Saint Germain this summer. There is also a clamor for Brighton manager Graham Potter and Brendan Rodgers may also be available to take the job if he departs from his current job at Leicester City. 

Is Gerrard the right man? 

The big question of the moment is whether Steven Gerrard is the right man to take Aston Villa forward.

During Gerrard's Villa tenure, there has been lots of good and also lots of bad. There have been good performances and there have been quite a few bad performances. His name value has been able to attract players to sign for the club they previously would not have been able to convince to sign, but his tactics and play style have often not allowed them to perform the way they are able to.

The jury is still when it comes to Gerrard's managerial ability. He obviously has his pros and cons but it is still a little early to cast judgment on him. He has a squad of very talented players and I'm sure there is still some business to do. I think that Gerrard is a good manager, as shown by his time at Rangers. He certainly can improve and turn things around but the pressure will be on as the money he has spent and the potential managers waiting in the wings means there is very little room for error.