Jurgen Klopp warned Steven Gerrard managing Rangers would be an all-consuming task – but the Ibrox boss admits it was only once he made the move to Glasgow that he discovered the full extent of the role.
The former Liverpool and England captain will rack up his 100th game as Rangers boss on Sunday when he takes his team to Edinburgh to face Hearts.
There have been the highs of twice qualifying for the Europa League group stages and lows like seeing Celtic claim all four of the domestic trophies his side have competed for so far.
But those were the kind of things the 39-year-old was prepared for having spent almost two decades experiencing everything the game has to offer as one of the world’s best players.
However, Gerrard admits the thing that has taken him aback – despite being fore cautioned by Reds boss Klopp – is just how much of the task of rebuilding Rangers has taken over his life.
“It’s been a journey that I thoroughly enjoyed,” said the 2005 Champions League winner. “This is a massive job, a massive club and I’ve enjoyed the ride so far.
“There’s been a lot of ups, there’s been some downs. Exactly what I expected but I’m sitting here just as hungry and ambitious as I was when I arrived.
“Hopefully I’m still around for the next 100 games.
“I’d like to think I’ve grown and learned from the mistakes I’ve made. I’d like to think I’ve done some things OK along the way as well.
“I believe there is more still to come from these players. We’ve got a real ambitious group, we’ve been through a lot in a short space of time. One hundred percent we’ve improved, we’ve added some fantastic talent to the group that have helped us and that will continue.
“I’m still young and inexperienced. People who said I lacked experience at the start were right. But there’s only one way to get it and that’s to get in there and face the challenges.
“That’s what myself and my staff have tried to do. We’re a new group but we’re all ambitious and hungry. We’ve done ever so well to get to where we are but there’s still a lot of work to be done and we’re all aware of that.
“We’ve come very close to getting that first bit of success. We’ve had European qualification and progression (to the last 32) which is a massive achievement from where the club was.
“But I know you get judged at this club on trophies. That won’t change going into my next 100 games.
“There’s been a few surprises I suppose. But it’s everything I expected. A lot of pressure, big responsibility. A job that goes round the clock.
“If anyone has plans on going into coaching and thinks they can put a time on it then forget about it as it’s a job when your phone and the job goes on round the clock – early morning, late at night.
“Maybe that’s one part that has shocked me. You don’t get away from it and switch off, even on an international or winter break. You are constantly on the phone or checking up on your players, how they are or where they are.
“A certain Jurgen Klopp warned me about that and he was right.”
Gerrard is expecting to announce “good news” on Jermain Defoe’s contract talks imminently.
The 37-year-old former England striker is out of contract with parent club Bournemouth in the summer and Gerrard is desperate to make his Ibrox loan a permanent arrangement.
But he insists Sevilla target Alfredo Morelos is going nowhere this month.
He said: “Jermain’s been massive for us. He’s so important to the team because of the way he behaves on and off the pitch.
“I’m so happy that in a couple of days we’ll get some good news on that.
“I know there’s been some rumours about some of our players at the moment but we’ve had no bids. Alfredo is not for sale. Nothing has changed on that.”
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