When Steven Gerrard was announced as the Glasgow Rangers manager it was largely accepted that it would take him 2 – 4 years to have any chance of winning the league.
To realistically expect to compete with Celtic was never going to happen overnight due to the finance, experience and winning mentality already shown by the Hoops in the east end of Glasgow.
A well known fact: Football managers cannot call a squad their own until they have two or three transfer windows to change the inherited side around.
It was all down to Gerrard to decide which Rangers players to keep and build with, and which players could leave or go on loan.
Out of a large group not good enough for his Rangers first team, he kept some. Gerrard signed quality centre-backs and a left-back.
Rangers had to get back on a winning track after years of suffering Ally McCoist, Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinha and interim manager Graeme Murty.
Manager Gerrard recognised the ability of attacking right-back James Tavernier, midfielder Ryan Jack and goalscoring striker Alfredo Morelos.
Unfortunately for Gerrard, they were the only three players who matched up to the standard required to take Rangers back to where they belonged.
He knew instinctively that quality players were imperative to win any silverware, and that he could also instill character and spirit in his new side.
Gerrard moved to sign Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic and Borna Barisic.
Rangers had no leaders or enough players who could handle the pressures and expectations of playing for a big club, one that simply must win games.
Deals for Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield were already lined up, but needed Gerrard’s blessing. Ex-Liverpool’s Ryan Kent, soon followed.
He knew more overhauling was required to achieve success at the Ibrox club. All these footballers have proven to be shrewd acquisitions.
Last January, Glen Kamara, Steven Davis and Jermain Defoe were added to the group that have now become title challengers.
Left-sided defender Filip Helander was added, along with ex-Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones and the versatile Greg Stewart.
Another versatile player in the squad is ex-Charlton star Joe Aribo is turning out to be the icing on the cake in Gerrard’s latest starting XI.
Eros Grezda and Greg Docherty are both good players, but neither have won over Gerrard’s approval ratings.
Gerrard’s Rangers are far superior from the team he inherited in June 2018. They are mentally, physically, tactically and technically stronger.
In only 18-months of his Ibrox job, Gerrard is carefully picking out players at the right price, who can fit in and enhance his Rangers side.
His progress at Ibrox highlights his coaching ability, and proves that he knows a player when he sees one.
Is this the year he wins silverware?
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