Two former players linked as Rangers start search for Gerrard replacement

Steven Gerrard, Rangers boss with Scottish Premiership trophy

Rangers have quickly identified two potential replacements for Steven Gerrard after the manager was appointed at Aston Villa, according to reports.

Gerrard has been confirmed as the new manager of Aston Villa, who recently dismissed Dean Smith. It will be the ex-Liverpool captain’s first job in Premier League management. He will have a busy task ahead of him.

Villa spent heavily on players in the summer after selling captain Jack Grealish for a British record fee. But Smith was unable to get things to click and the progress has not been what was expected.

Gerrard will therefore be tasked with turning things around at Villa Park after filling the vacancy.

But as that role gets taken, a new opportunity will open for someone else at Rangers.

Gerrard will be a tough act to follow at Ibrox, having led Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title last season. It ended a dominant streak of success for arch-rivals Celtic, whom they remain ahead of in the table so far this season.

Looking to retain their crown, Rangers will have to get their Gerrard replacement right. And according to reports, a two-man shortlist has suddenly formed.

The Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday night that Rangers have identified Russell Martin as a managerial target.

Russell Martin Swansea October 2021

Martin, 35, is currently in his second job as a manager. He took over at MK Dons after ending his playing career there, spending two years on the touchline before switching for Swansea City this year.

Swansea are in mid-table after 17 games of the Championship season, having won six, drawn five and lost six. In a competitive league, he has them three points off the play-offs.

Martin is building a reputation and has admirers up in Scotland – the country he represented as an international despite being born in Brighton.

Martin spent time on loan at Rangers as a player in 2018. Now, they have made enquiries about reuniting with him as a manager.

Rangers also linked with Van Bronckhorst

Giovanni van Bronckhorst on the touchline

He will not be the only contender, though. The Scottish Sun have added that Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been linked with the job.

Another ex-Rangers player, the Dutchman had four years in charge of Feyenoord and then a short stint in China with Guangzhou. Away from the touchline since December, he is now hoping for a way back into management.

“I’ve had a lot of time lately to be at home and spend a lot of time in my foundation,” he said recently, as quoted in the report.

“That was a bit more difficult in recent years. Now I have the sense and energy to take on a great challenge.

“It is important in that regard – which club is it, and does it suit me?

“It was great fun in Asia. But after a month I noticed that it was becoming very difficult because of corona.

“It was therefore important to return to the Netherlands as soon as possible.”

Van Bronckhorst may now be ready to be on the move again, though. It remains to be seen if Rangers will make a formal offer to him or if they will pursue Martin first.

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