Steven Gerrard managing Rangers would be 'huge risk', says Neil Lennon

Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon claims Steven Gerrard only needs to talk to John Barnes to understand what a "huge risk" it would be if he were to become Rangers boss.

The former Liverpool captain has emerged as a leading candidate to take over as Rangers manager after Graeme Murty's short-term contract expires.

The 37-year-old is believed to be mulling over the chance to swap the Anfield youth ranks for Ibrox and could look to Lennon for inspiration.

The former Celtic skipper became Hoops manager at the age of 38 after two years of coaching experience at the club, before leading them to three titles and the Champions League knockout stages.

But Barnes endured misery in his first management job at Celtic, his only season ending prematurely in February 2000 following Scottish Cup defeat to First Division Inverness.

Gerrard was accustomed to carrying the expectations of a demanding support in his playing days but Lennon warned management is altogether different.

"Knowing Steve as I do, he's a brilliant guy," the Hibernian head coach said.

"He's one of my heroes actually over the past 20 years, a great role model and inspirational figure. But playing football is totally different from coaching and managing.

"I'm sure he will do a bit of due diligence on it and he has plenty of people he can turn to for advice. John Barnes would be a good example. He went in cold and found it very difficult.

"It can be a harsh environment. It's not as easy as people think it is. That's the perception coming from down south.

"We have seen a lot of good players and managers come and go very quickly because they have found it very difficult to adapt to the pressures and expectations of what Glasgow can bring.

"In terms of Rangers, patience is needed. Whoever goes in has a bit of a job on his hands. It's not insurmountable but I think a more experienced guy would be advantageous in that department. But if Steve thinks he can do it, then good luck to him."

The former Leicester midfielder claimed his baptism of fire in management was helped by knowing all about his environment.

"I had been there as a coach, I had been there as a player, I had been there as a development team coach," said Lennon, whose Hibs team are three points behind Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

"I was pretty much ingrained in the workings of the club inside and out.

"I was interim manager as well and obviously got the job. You never know when you are ready. It was a massive undertaking and when I look back now you think 'I must have been fearless to take that on'.

"And Steve will be in the same position, although I think I had a huge advantage in the fact I was ingrained in the club and I knew the personnel, I knew the requirements of the job and the culture of the club. Steve won't know any of that.

"It's a huge risk. They have got an incumbent manager at the minute who has no experience, and they look as if they are going to go down that road again.

"When you look back over the last 20 years, since I've been here, the two most successful Rangers managers were Scottish (Alex McLeish and Walter Smith) and they knew the Scottish game."

- PA


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