Steven Gerrard has been slammed for the way he left Rangers “like a thief in the night”, and Aston Villa could wind up being the one who ultimately lose out., according to Richard Keys.
Gerrard was drafted in to replace Dean Smith as the new Aston Villa boss last Thursday. Many felt Smith’s axing was harsh given the journey he had taken Villa on from the Championship. Nevertheless, the club’s dismal run of five successive defeats did hint a change was required.
Gerrard left Rangers in the heat of a renewed title challenge from Celtic. The Liverpool legend helped prevent Celtic from winning 10 SPL titles in a row last season.
However, fans of the Ibrox club were dismayed to see their manager jump ship mid-season at a time when only four points separate the two Scottish giants.
Now, BeIN Sport host Richard Keys has weighed in on the furore. Writing in his blog (via the Mirror), Keys took aim at Gerrard on several levels.
He claimed the nature of his exit will have a negative impact on his former’ squad’s ability to hold off Celtic’s challenge. He then explained why it is Villa – not Gerrard – who are taking a gamble with the appointment.
“Welcome back Steven,” wrote Keys. “Although I wish you’d taken a bit more care about the manner in which you accepted the Villa job.
“I said this on Twitter last week – and I stand by it. Leaving Rangers like a thief in the night was poor.
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“Everybody at Ibrox deserved better – not least the players – who knew little or nothing about your intentions until they saw pictures of you holding up a Villa shirt – and yes – you looked happy!
“The ‘daft questions’ came later this time – Why leave like that? Why skulk off after being given your big break by Rangers?
“You later issued a statement saying ‘in time – I hope people understand’. Well they won’t. If you’d done things the right way I’m sure they might have done.”
Villa have gambled despite Gerrard reputation – Keys
Keys then suggested Villa are not assured of turning their season around just because of Gerrard’s appointment. They currently sit 16th in the table, just two points clear of the relegation zone.
“I don’t see Gerrard taking the job at Villa as a gamble for him. It’s Villa who’ve taken the gamble,” added Keys.
“Just because Steven played for Liverpool and England doesn’t make him a cast iron certainty to make a success of it.
“Frank Lampard played for Chelsea and England, but he came up short when he returned to The Bridge. I’m not suggesting Lampard won’t yet make a very good coach, but the jury is out.
“It’s the same with Gerrard. He’s taken on a massive club and he’s totally unproven in England. There’s no doubting that the job he did at Rangers was first class.
“If nothing else – he stopped Celtic making it 10-in-a-row, but this is a step up. So we wish Steven good luck, but it won’t be a walk in the Villa Park.”