Aston Villa appoint Steven Gerrard as new head coach

Aston Villa have appointed Steven Gerrard as their new manager on a three-and-a-half-year deal

following Dean Smith's dismissal, with Gerrard deciding the moment is right to walk away from Rangers.

Villa had made Gerrard top of their list of potential candidates after Smith’s departure on Sunday, with the team struggling, after five successive league defeats.

Gerrard has been Rangers manager since June 2018 and won the Scottish Premiership last season. He leaves with the club top and as they prepare for the League Cup semi-final against Hibernian on Sunday week.

Villa sit 16th in the Premier League table, two points above the relegation zone after 11 games of their campaign and the former Liverpool captain is due to take Villa to Anfield on 11 December.

He has a connection at Villa to Christian Purslow, the chief executive, who worked as Liverpool’s managing director for a number of years while Gerrard was at the club.

Gerrard said: "Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new head coach."

"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.

“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.”

Purslow said: "Since moving into coaching after his illustrious playing career, Steven began by managing and developing top young players in the Liverpool FC academy which is experience we value highly at Aston Villa.

"It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven's coaching ambitions, philosophy and values entirely match those of Aston Villa.

"We are excited he has agreed to lead us in the next phase of our ambitious plans as we look to build on the progress made since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens took over the club in 2018."

Rangers said they "flourished" under Gerrard's management and helped build "outstanding, highly competitive playing squad which is capable of both winning and entertaining on all fronts".

Chairman Douglas Park said: "I would firstly like to put on record my thanks to Steven for his outstanding efforts over the last three-and-a-half years at Rangers.

"He has provided us all with some unforgettable moments, not least his delivery of the Scottish Premiership title back to Ibrox last season having not lost a match in the entire league campaign.

"In European competition, he has restored the good name and credibility of our club on the continent and leaves us in a very healthy position on the pitch."