‘He wants to be one of the best managers in the world’: Steven Gerrard’s former teacher reveals how the title-winning Rangers boss always had a relentless desire to improve
- Ex-high school teacher Neil Dewsnip has hailed Steven Gerrard’s character
- Dewsnip says title-winning Rangers boss has been ambitious from a young age
- Former Rangers defender Gareth McAuley revealed some of Gerrard’s methods
- The Liverpool icon revamped the facilities, equipment and the menu at the club
The journey began when Steven Gerrard gathered 25 players around him on a training pitch in Fuengirola.
Rangers had chosen Spain as the base for the pre-season preparations, and Gerrard remembers his heart beating quicker as he spoke about his ambitions. The speech took place up in the hills but the task facing Gerrard and his staff was to climb a mountain.
Gerrard had been given an insight into what to expect by Walter Smith.
Steven Gerrard wants to become one of the best managers in the world, says a former teacher
Ex-high school teacher Neil Dewsnip said the 40-year-old has always strived to keep improving
The former Rangers and Everton manager is a similar character to Gerrard, someone who deals in no-nonsense. Smith has continued to be there whenever advice was needed.
Neil Dewsnip, who was Gerrard’s former teacher at Cardinal Heenan high school in Liverpool and went on to have a successful coaching career at Everton and the FA, was also a critical sounding board as the wheels were put into motion.
‘He is a willing learner but he has always strived to improve,’ he says. ‘That desire he had to be one of the best players in the world has now transferred. He wants to be one of the best managers in the world.’
Changes all around the club needed to be made.
Rangers had been through a financial crisis — the facilities at Ibrox had become tired and there was a need to tighten discipline around the squad.
Gerrard brought in another former Liverpool player in Gary McAllister (right) to be his assistant
The menu at the training ground was revamped.
He also made sacrifices himself. All the pasttimes he enjoyed — golf and snooker particularly — were, in his words, ‘knocked on the head’. He would report to work at 8am each morning. Work on the laptop went on until when he returned home.
Gerrard had been used to top-class facilities as a player, whether at Melwood, St George’s Park or LA Galaxy, and certain things he had seen in those facilities were brought in. Pitches were improved and new equipment was introduced.
The decision to sign experienced professionals such as goalkeeper Allan McGregor and defender Gareth McAuley early on were hugely important. Gerrard wanted a dressing room that could police itself and these two men played their part.
Ex-Rangers defender Gareth McAuley (right) said Gerrard improved things ‘slowly but cleverly’
‘Steven changed things around slowly but cleverly,’ McAuley tells Sportsmail.
‘Training sessions always had a purpose, everything was geared up to the next game. The standards he was used to as a player he wanted to become commonplace among the squad.’
One area that was significantly improved was sports science. Jordan Milsom followed Gerrard from Liverpool to head the division and players would be screened for body fat percentages. A red or green light after these would indicate which players were doing things properly.
‘He would explain to the younger lads the difference to your performance that an extra per cent or two in the wrong direction could make,’ says McAuley.
The legendary Liverpool midfielder led his Glasgow-based side to their first title in a decade
‘He wouldn’t leave a stone unturned. You could see the drive he had to make it a success.
‘Putting silverware on the table is another big step but he will want to go and do it again. He knows how to deal with scrutiny, he’s dealt with it everywhere he has gone.
‘When you work with him, you realise why he achieved what he did as a player.
‘I’m absolutely delighted for him.’
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