Why a Gerrard exit is nothing like Brendan Rodgers leaving Celtic

By Euan Davidson

November 10, 2021

The natural comparison for this week’s turn of events is between Steven Gerrard, linked with Aston Villa, and his former manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers.

When Rodgers made his midnight flit to Leicester City, it was during an important season (aren’t they all?). He’d recently brought new players into the first team, but was captured by the lure of the Premier League.

The chance to work with a better budget and an ambitious board clearly was enough for the former Celtic boss to jump ship. It’d be hard to argue he hasn’t done a very good job with the Foxes. Successive fifth-place finishes are something of a triumph [Premier League].

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Having won everything there was to win at domestic level, what rankled about Rodgers’ departure was what he’d said prior. He was focused on the job, the next three points were the main thing, there will always be speculation and so on [Leicester Mercury].

What’s different here is that, while Gerrard has espoused similar sentiments, he wouldn’t leave with the esteem of Rodgers, to a Premier League club with top 5 ambitions. 1 trophy out of 9 is inarguably not the same record Rodgers had, or anything like it.

Nor are Aston Villa a club on the level of Leicester City. The Birmingham-based outfit have won just 3 games out of 11 [Premier League]. If Gerrard goes to Villa, it’s a salvage job.

“We are genuinely witnessing a really special Celtic front three” | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail

“We are genuinely witnessing a really special Celtic front three” | Scott McDonald on 67 Hail Hail
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Steven Gerrard story, if he leaves for Aston Villa, is different to that of Brendan Rodgers

This isn’t to suggest all is forgiven with Rodgers, of course. The way he left stung, in the same way it’ll sting for Rangers supporters if Gerrard does leave the club this week for Aston Villa.

Reports suggest he will [Telegraph].

Again, though, this will be painted as “top Scottish Premiership manager can’t resist Premier League”. The factors are greater, though. Brendan Rodgers wasn’t approaching the end of his shelf-life with Celtic. Were Gerrard to stay and not win the title, his job would be under enormous pressure.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That’s the key difference.

What Rodgers left was a successful team, primed to win the title again. Gerrard’s side are top of the table, sure, but his side have been sluggish at times, when last season they were utterly imperious. We can’t hide from the fact that Rangers were a good team under the Liverpudlian in 20-21.

Would it be a blow to the reputation of the Scottish top-flight? That’s a different case to make.

What’s clear, though, is that these are very different circumstances.

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