Rangers’ left back Declan John has admitted that the past two (or three) managers failed with regards getting Rangers’ players fit at a basic level, and Steven Gerrard has made a huge difference there.
One observation made about the 2-3 loss at Ibrox to Celtic in March was that despite Rangers’ promising start, for the final 35+ minutes of the game the gulf in class and, crucially, fitness, was plain for all to see as the home side toiled against visitors who barely broke a sweat.
And now Gerrard is vividly working on getting these players right up in fitness.
“Yeah, I think that’s fair to say (that fitness was an issue). To be fair I think I’ve seeen in the past two or three sessions we’ve had already in this pre-season that tempo has gone a lot higher. The training that we had last season wasn’t as high tempo.”
If nothing else indicted previous regimes more, that certainly does. It does seem that the likes of Warburton, Caixinha and Murty criminally underestimated the SPL, were a tonne out of their depths (as if we didn’t know) and simply didn’t work their players hard enough.
Gerrard already understands success at the highest levels, and what it takes. While this is his first foray into management we have to remember he’s learned from Houllier, Rodgers, Hodgson, Benitez and Klopp to name but five, and clearly the Rangers boss is determined to use every ounce of wisdom he’s taken on board.
And one of those is basic fitness. Premier League title aside, Gerrard won pretty much everything in the club game, and evidently if Rangers are to start to win themselves, being puffed out at 55 minutes isn’t good enough.
And John’s testimony of essentially just how bad it’s been till now is one huge condemnation of previous ‘managers’.