Steven Gerrard’s coaching stock has been a bizarrely divided entity these past few months. While December was superb, and saw the last 32 of the Europa League, and January then went further to the final 16, domestically the state of play since the turn of the year has been a travesty.
In short, Gerrard has demonstrated a real knack in European competition, doing a fine job of replicating his club success with Liverpool on the continent at Ibrox, but has struggled demonstrably when it comes to the bread and butter of the Premiership.
Are Rangers, under Steven Gerrard, in a better position now than they were last March? Or the one before?
Backers of the manager would say yes – that the squad is superior, that the run in Europe is better, we’ve beaten Celtic more than once, we got to a cup final and there’s a lot to work with.
Detractors would say the opposite – the squad is actually the same or weaker, league performances have been catastrophic, and silverware isn’t happening, while Gerrard’s favourites play week-in-week-out.
The truth, as always, is likely somewhere in the middle.
The squad is indeed filled with quality players, lots of internationals and rising talents. Equally though a lot of them don’t get to play, or get farmed out on loan.
The run in Europe is/was top notch, and frankly we don’t have any negatives for making the last 16 of the UEL.
But overall we cannot help feeling the message we get back from our readers, even Gerrard’s most ardent supporters, who try to be kind, is fairly to the point when they say he doesn’t help himself.
And that, bottom line, is Steven Gerrard’s biggest issue – himself.
His poor decision-making and bad personnel calls not to mention inept tactical choices have done a lot of harm, when ironically we see in many matches that there’s so much potential for him to do a lot better.
His biggest weakness is loyalty to subpar players – defending them, while attacking others, and stubbornly refusing to buckle and make changes.
Again, he’s his own worst enemy.
He’s constructed a very decent squad, filled with good players, if not enough great players, and it showed in December how good it could be.
But unfortunately the builder of the ship doesn’t seem interested in exploring his vessel fully, and a lot of it gets overlooked and ignored, while he continues to chart the same flawed path to his destination.
Gerrard has shown a failure to adapt, and it’s for the good of Rangers that he rectifies that.
Even his biggest backers want to see him modify his approach and do different things. They mostly support him but not completely blindly.
As for us?
We gave up expecting him to change. We support Rangers, and want to see success. If Gerrard can achieve that, we’ll not criticise his weaknesses. But as long as they hold the club and team back, we will call that out.
But we certainly don’t exclude the players from blame, and we’ll analyse that one soon.