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Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard received help and guidance from Sir Alex Ferguson, iconic former manager of bitter rivals Manchester United, on his way to landing the Aston Villa job this week. Gerrard’s domination with Rangers seemingly temtped the West Midlands side into making a move after Dean Smith’s surprise dismissal.
Smith was given his marching orders by the Villa hierarchy after last Friday’s defeat by Southampton.
All told, that was their fifth consecutive defeat since they won at Old Trafford more than a month prior.
The departure of Jack Grealish to Manchester City during the summer had prompted concern over how Smith would cope, and the early signs were not promising.
Despite a significant spend of their own, the former Brentford boss failed to get his side firing, and Villa chief Christian Purslow soon found himself on Gerrard’s doorstep.
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Steven Gerrard has called on the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson (Image: GETTY)
The former England midfielder left Rangers four points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership, while last season they went unbeaten on their way to a resounding title.
Shockingly, Gerrard’s success is owed, in part, to the advice and guidance of former foe Sir Alex Ferguson.
After winning the Scottish Football Writers’ Association Manager of the Year award back in May, the former Liverpool man came clean on their working relationship.
“Since I’ve retired, we’ve parked our rivalry up and he gave me time on the phone to bounce a few things off him, a few questions to do with the management up here at Rangers,” said Gerrard.
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“He was fantastic in those conversations and at some point moving forward, I’d love the chance to sit down with him and have a coffee.
“He’s agreed to that and that’s fantastic because he doesn’t have to give me his time, especially being a rival.
“But I think that goes to show what type of man he is — he’s not just the iconic manager we all know.
“I’m delighted to receive the Manager of the Year award. I receive it collectively with my staff. That goes without saying, because we are very much a team here.”
Dean Smith was sacked as Aston Villa boss after defeat to Southampton (Image: GETTY)
Indeed, Ferguson’s guidance was borne from experience given that he spent well over a decade managing in Scotland before moving to United in 1986.
Eventually though, it could come back to bite the Red Devils given that Gerrard is widely tipped to eventually succeed Jurgen Klopp in the Liverpool hotseat.
If the midfielder kicks on at Villa as his short career with Rangers suggests he might, the Reds could be left in capable hands once the German departs.
Curiously enough, they would have bitter rival Ferguson to thank for part of his managerial development.